Harambee Stars coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee has accused Comoros’ Football Association of destabilizing his players before the two teams met in Moroni on Sunday night.
Mulee and Stars returned home Monday after a 2-1 loss to the Islanders, a result that left Kenya on the brink of elimination from the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Mulee claims Comoros officials unsuccessfully attempted to exclude six players from Stars line up on the premise they had tested positive for Covid-19. The claim was overruled by Confederation of African Football but the push and pull delayed kick off by half an hour.
“We expected it. The opponent targeted six of our best players and claimed they had tested positive for Covid-19. But we had certificates confirming our team was safe,” Mulee claimed.
The coach has also blamed the inactivity on the domestic football scene for the loss, and insisted he will not resign.
“Lawi (Lawrence Juma) played for 40 minutes and got tired. We have not played football in Kenya for nine months. Most players are unfit. I don’t plan to resign, maybe if the federation sacks me.”
Fardou Ben Mohamed and Faiz Mottoir scored in either side of the half to earn the three points for Comoros, while Cliff Nyakeya’s 35th minute equaliser in the first half wasn’t enough to revive Stars hopes of heading to qualifying for the continental showpiece in Cameroon in 2022.
“I am confident we can still qualify for Afcon if we win our remaining two matches and accumulate a total nine points as we play against Togo away in March and Egypt at home. But that now depends on the results of Togo and Egypt in their matches,” said Mulee at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday after the team jetted back to the country from Comoros.
He defended his record since taking over the role from former coach Francis Kimanzi, insisting his priority is to improve the defence in the upcoming matches.
The former Tusker coach also defended goalkeeper Arnold Origi and other foreign based players who performed below par in the two matches, saying he fielded them due to fitness.
Other foreign based players who showed dismal performance in the match were Johana Omollo, Ayub Timbe, Masoud Juma and captain Victor Wanyama.
However, Cliff Nyakeya and Joseph Okumu showed impressive performances with the former bagging a goal and the latter thwarting dangerous balls from Comoros strikers at the heart of the defence.
Wanyama was also confident that Stars still have a chance of qualifying for a second successive Afcon despite Kenya being third in Group G behind Comoros (8points), Egypt (5 points) while Togo are last on one point.
Togo host Egypt on Tuesday after the Pharaohs won by a solitary goal in the first leg on Saturday.
“We still have a minimal chance qualifying but it will be very difficult. We should not give up since you can’t predict football. Comoros were a good team since they have been together for a long time and that aided them to win,” said the Montreal Impact midfielder.
But stakeholders, including former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Sam Nyamweya said they were disappointed with the result.
“Comoros is ranked position 133, while Kenya is ranked position 107, 26 places lower than Kenya. Comoros has a population of 800,000 the size of an average sized county in Kenya. We are therefore population wise 60 times more than Comoros, and economically approximately 3 times superior, there is therefore no logical justification to loose to such a lowly ranked Country, it is a national disgrace for our national team to lose to Comoros,” said Nyamweya.
Kenya host Egypt in March. Only two teams from this group will qualify for the continental showpiece.