What you need to know:
- The former Tusker tactician praised debutants Clyde Senaji and Kevin Simiyu for impressive displays.
- He assured local based players that they are part of his future plans as long as they feature regularly for their clubs.
- On his part, Olunga praised his teammates and is confident that they can qualify for the World Cup.
Calls for the government to rescind its directive on the suspension of sports and early preparations for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, dominated Harambee Stars' luncheon on Tuesday, a day after their 2-1 win over Togo in their last match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Lome.
Coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee's side finished third in Group G on seven points behind leaders Egypt and Comoros, who amassed 12 and nine points respectively, to seal the two slots to the finals next January in Cameroon.
President Uhuru Kenyatta last Friday directed that all sports activities be suspended indefinitely as a way to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Nairobi and four neighbouring counties.
“I have talked to Sports CS (Amina Mohammed) and she has told us to write to her so that the issue can be acted upon. Our league was going on well without fans and we are ready to continue observing coronavirus protocols. The league will return soon,” said Mwendwa at Safari Park Hotel, where the team was awarded a Sh2.5 million winning bonus by their sponsors Odibet upon jetting back into the country.
The national team has been drawn against neighbours Uganda, Rwanda and Mali in Group E in the World Cup qualifiers that start in June.
“I have hopes that the league will return in the near future to give us a chance of gauging players to call to the national team. The federation president has informed me that they have talked with the Sports CS and the issue is being discussed,” said Mulee.
“My biggest desire is to be in the World Cup and it is possible. With adequate preparations, I’m optimistic we shall pull through and make history by going to Qatar,” added the 53-year-old tactician.
Harambee Stars quartet of skipper Michael Olunga, Simba SC defender Joash Onyango, Sofapaka midfielder Lawrence Juma and keeper Ian Otieno tested positive for Covid-19 in the West African country, but Mulee said he sensed foul play, calling on CAF to look into the issue of testing players in the upcoming matches.
The four players had before the trip tested negative for the deadly virus.
“It was less than 24 hours since we did the test and I couldn’t figure out how this was happening. This is African football and I sensed foul play because it is the same thing they did to us in Comoros. It was a challenge but the boys gave their best shot to get the win,” added Mulee.
The former Tusker tactician praised debutants Clyde Senaji and Kevin Simiyu for impressive displays.
He assured local based players that they are part of his future plans as long as they feature regularly for their clubs.
On his part, Olunga praised his teammates and is confident that they can qualify for the World Cup.