WC Qualification Africa

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Mulee's 'burning desire is to take Kenya to Qatar'

18:32 EAT 01/09/2021
Kenya and Harambee Stars coach Jacob Mulee vs Egypt.
The 53-year-old tactician maintains his main focus is to make sure the Harambee Stars play in the final to be held in the Gulf

Harambee Stars coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee has reiterated his stance his main desire is to make sure Kenya qualify for the 2022 Fifa World Cup to be held in Qatar.

When the 53-year-old tactician took the mantle of handling the team from fired Francis Kimanzi on October 21, 2020, he categorically stated that his main task is to help the country to reach their first-ever World Cup.

And on Wednesday, after taking the team through their last training session ahead of their first group match, Mulee maintained nothing has changed from what he said during his unveiling, maintaining his burning desire is to see Kenya in Qatar in 2022.

Kenya have been drawn in Group E of the qualifiers and they will open their campaign with a home game against neighbours Uganda on Thursday before they travel to tackle Rwanda in Kigali on September 5.

What did Mulee say?

“I think God gave me this job with a purpose and I am also here with a purpose, I have been with this team to Africa Cup of Nations before, and I also have that huge desire to reach Qatar, so I will do all I can to make sure, I succeed with this team and we play in Qatar,” Mulee told Goal at Nyayo Stadium.

“I know it will not be an easy task, looking at the group we are pooled in but if God will give us passage past the group stage [maybe by topping the group], because that is our desire and target [to top the group], then we will get ready for the knockout stage where only ten teams will remain from Africa.”

On whether he is feeling pressure heading into the ‘Migingo derby, Mulee said: “It is a huge responsibility for sure handling the national team, 50million Kenyans behind your back and we know what is ahead of us, we respect Uganda a lot and we know head to head they have an advantage over Kenya.

“But that is history for now, and tomorrow [Thursday] we will also have an opportunity for us to start rewriting our own history and we will do everything possible to make sure we get a good result and if we start by getting a win, then it will give us a head start.”

Mulee continued: “It is an opening game and we are all fighting to qualify and we have the hunger to reach Qatar and our opponents have always been on top of Kenya for a long time but it will be a new dawn for us and we will strive to bag three points.

“We must make sure we make good use of playing the first match at home because if you win your home matches, it gives you a good start and puts you in a good position to qualify and also the advantage to do well because after Uganda we end to Rwanda.”

Mulee reveals Covid-19 challenges

On whether Covid-19 pandemic has affected any of his plans for the Cranes game, Mulee explained: “Yes, Covid-19 has affected us, for example when I plan my team you are not sure if they will end up playing the way you want because when the results come, and you find some players are positive, then you have to start from point zero to make up your squad.

“We went to Togo and missed some players because of Covid-19 during the Afcon qualifiers and it also happened when we played against Comoros, but when the players came back home and were tested, they were negative, so it is shocking sometimes to see the results we get.

“It also gives us coaches difficult times, because you are not sure if the squad you have planned to use for a match will be available on matchday, it gives us tough times to plan but I also think not Kenya alone, other nations maybe are also having the same problems like us and we don’t have anything to stop it.”

Kenya’s other opponents in the group’s qualifier are Mali, who will play Rwanda in their opener at Stade Adrar Stadium on Wednesday.

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