Harambee Stars huge letdown to loyal Kenyans

Kenya's Johana Omollo, Brian Mandela and captain Victor wanyama complain to the referee during their 2021 Afcon qualifier against Comoros at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on November 11,2020.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Head coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee found it convenient to blame the team’s loss on “dirty tricks” by the host nation
  • So if Stars were the underdogs in their own backyard against tiny Comoros, what will happen when Mo Salah and the mighty Pharaohs of Egypt come to town?
  • But there is no denying the fact that our ever-bungling Stars, ably aided by Football Kenya Federation, have yet again shot themselves in the foot


In the hours following Harambee Stars’ meek surrender to Comoros last Sunday evening, there were lively debates, analysis and sharp criticism of the team’s disgraceful collapse.

There were even a few trolls and memes. But that was all there was to it; an online banter with no real manifestation of annoyance, frustration or trepidation from the team’s long suffering fans.

Granted, that’s just how the Kenyan online community is. Whenever an event that is worthy – or unworthy on some occasions – of public discourse happens, they quickly make a meal of it, before moving on to the next.

Then came excuses from the team’s camp. Head coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee found it convenient to blame the team’s loss on “dirty tricks” by the host nation.

This was coming from the very same coach who days earlier had ceded home ground advantage to the visiting islanders ahead of the first leg fixture in Nairobi by branding his team the ‘underdogs’.

Yes, the same coach, who after dropping two valuable points in that match, whined about “unfair” fixtures that supposedly gave other teams in the group – read Egypt and Togo – undue advantage over his team.

But guess what? Comoros, who did all the talking on the pitch, capitalised on that same “unfair” match scheduling to get the job done home and away.

And all that because of ‘dirty tricks’? Seriously? I don’t buy it.

But give it to the man. Mulee’s concession before the Comoros tie, ultimately proved prophetic. So if Stars were the underdogs in their own backyard against tiny Comoros, what will happen when Mo Salah and the mighty Pharaohs of Egypt come to town?

I’ll leave that to the fans out there to make their own conclusions.

But there is no denying the fact that our ever-bungling Stars, ably aided by Football Kenya Federation, have yet again shot themselves in the foot. For once we were pooled in an easy group, but we blew our chances.

Which is why I was utterly confounded by the public and media apathy to Harambee Stars dreadful outing. Elsewhere, Mulee and his men wouldn’t have been let off the hook so easily.

Nothing illustrates the high expectation that serious football nations place on their national teams than the harsh treatment that Cote d’Ivoire’s national team was subjected to by the government for their failure at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations.

Upon arrival in Abidjan, the team was rounded up and driven to a military camp where they were detained for three days.

A government spokesman claimed that the military, under dictator, General Robert Guei, was only holding the squad for its own “safety” – that there was possibility of reprisals by angry fans.

In truth though, the “Elephants” had staged a decent campaign at the biennial continental show-piece that was co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria and were unlucky to be eliminated in the group stages on goal difference.

But that mattered little to the military government, which in its wisdom – or the lack of it – saw it fit to teach the team a lesson for letting down the country. Stars are equally guilty of letting Kenyans down.

soomondi@ke.nationmedia.com

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