Otieno confident Stars will qualify for Afcon 2021

Mkalla Mwambodze

Former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno believes Kenya will qualify for the African Cup of Nations for the second time in a row.

The former Santos, Tusker and AFC Leopards defender is one of the candidates heavily tipped to join the Stars dugout alongside veteran Twahir Muhiddin as deputies to newly hired head coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee and he believes that if Kenya gets maximum points at home, they will have a big chance of making it to the showpiece set for Cameroon.

“Our group is not that easy but if we can get maximum points in our home matches it will help us a lot in increasing our prospects of qualifying. Like how we got the ticket for the last Afcon, we did well in our home games which helped the coach in strategizing well for our away games,” said Otieno.

Otieno who retired in 2011 after an illustrious career, including winning the South African Premier Soccer League with Santos in 2001-02, is very optimistic with the kind of players available for new coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee.

“We have a very good squad plus the young players that are coming up. Michael Olunga is there, Ayub Timbe, Victor Wanyama together with the young ones, we have a lot of talent.

The challenge for now is that our local league is not yet back but with the talent we have, our national team can go far,” added the former captain who served as assistant to Stanley Okumbi at the national team before they were shown the exit door way back in 2018.

Kenya started their 2021 Afcon campaign with a 1-1 draw against Egypt, away in Cairo, before settling for a similar result at home to Togo.

They face Comoros next month with the first leg set for the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on November 11 while the second leg is slated for four days later, on November 15 in Comoros.

The tournament was originally scheduled to be played in June and July 2021, but  CAF announced on 15 January 2020 that due to unfavourable climatic conditions during this period, the tournament would take place between 9 January and 6 February 2021.

On 30 June 2020, CAF moved the tournament for the third time to January 2022 following the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Algeria are the defending champions after winning the 2019 edition.