My team selection not influenced by any force – ‘Ghost’ Mulee
Harambee Stars head coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee has cleared the air over his squad selection, saying he has never been influenced on who to pick by the federation bosses.
Instead, Mulee says he only consults his technical bench and would quit if bulldozed to select players he is not interested in.
Mulee’s strong statement comes after claims emerged the provisional squad he named last week for the opening two matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers was not entirely his choice.
“My record is known, I wouldn’t accept to work under such conditions. The players I name are the ones we feel as the technical bench are ready for the duty,” he said.
Asked about picking two goalkeepers from the same team; Brian Bwire and Brandon Obiero(both Kariobangi Sharks), Mulee said it has nothing to do with the club founder Nick Mwendwa – the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss.
“Before you talk about Sharks players, you should know I’m the one who proposed to the federation to employ Sharks coach William Muluya to work under me. In fact the federation was hesitant to appoint him because of the affiliation of his club and president Nick Mwendwa.
“I however insisted as they had given me a free hand to select my assistants, and so he is here. Someone may also associate the two keepers with Muluya’s place in the technical bench but it is all about the potential we see in them,” he explained.
Veteran tactician Twahir Muhiddin (Bandari FC Technical Director) and Ken Odhiambo of Sofapaka also assist Mulee in the Stars job.
According to Ghost, both Obiero and Bwire have been impressive for the club and the national under-20 team, Emerging Stars, respectively.
Mulee’s provisional squad also has Ulinzi Stars keeper James Saruni, KCB’s Joseph Okoth and Zesco United’s Ian Otieno.
Going into Uganda’s match set for September 2 at home at Nyayo, Mulee is optimistic his charges will start off impressively but is cautious of the threat posed by the opponents in the group.
“We have not played a single match since the last African Cup of Nations qualifiers double header against Egypt and Togo, while Mali and Uganda have been in action in the last FIFA window. That is a disadvantage to us but we’re are hopeful of a good start,” he said.
Harambee Stars are in Group E, which also has CECAFA fellow members Rwanda.
Meanwhile, the coach has said some of the players who have not been called up for the for the September duty still have a room in the future depending on their competitiveness.
One of the loud omissions was that of defensive stalwart Joash Onyango while long serving skipper, Victor Wanyama, overlooked in the last leg of Afcon qualifiers against Egypt and Togo also found no space in the team named by the bespectacled Mulee.
Having failed to steer Kenya to the 2022 AFCON set for Cameroon, Mulee who took over from Francis Kimanzi last year is under the microscope by the ever demanding Kenyan fans to seize the elusive World Cup ticket for the Qatar fiesta.