Former tactician backs Kenya to seal Afcon return - Daily Nation

Former tactician backs Kenya to seal Afcon return

Wednesday September 12 2018

Harambee Stars midfielder Said Athuman (right) vies for the ball with Malawi's Alfred Manyoro during their international friendly match on September 11, 2018 at Kasarani stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Harambee Stars midfielder Said Athuman (right) vies for the ball with Malawi's Alfred Manyoro during their international friendly match on September 11, 2018 at Kasarani stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VINCENT OPIYO
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Former Harambee Stars coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee has tipped the current squad to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon next year.

Mulee, who last led Kenya at the continental showpiece in 2004, says the team has the right impetus to make it this time round.

“However, they still have a lot to do to break the jinx but I believe the current generation is ripe to reach the Afcon finals,” Mulee told Nation Sport after witnessing Kenya edge Malawi 1-0 in a friendly match at Kasarani stadium on Tuesday.

Kenya next face Ethiopia on October 10 and 13 when the 2019 Afcon qualifiers resume, with victory in both games moving them to nine points, a figure that will improve their chances of making a return to the biennial tourney after a 14-year absence.

In the 2004 qualifiers, Kenya finished top of Group Five with 13 points, three ahead of Togo, who finished second, while Cape Verde and Mauritania came third and fourth respectively.

“We need now shift focus to the two games against Ethiopia, win and start dreaming of qualifying,” added Mulee, who won league titles with Tusker and Rwandese side APR.

Meanwhile, Harambee Stars stand-in captain Musa Mohammed has thanked the thousands of fans that turned up to cheer on the team in the two games against Ghana and Malawi.

Kenya edged out four-time African champions Ghana 1-0 in a Group “F” qualifier of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Saturday at Kasarani, before seeing off "The Flames" of Malawi 1-0 in a friendly match on Tuesday.

Both games had a sizeable crowd cheering every touch and tackle the Stars, who donned red home kits, made.

While Ghana’s victory was the first for Kenya in 15 years, the one against Malawi came after 14 years, coincidentally the last time Kenya appeared at the continental showpiece.

“I want to thank fans for turning up in large numbers on Saturday and Tuesday to witness historic wins over Ghana and Malawi, playing on home turf is really nice and we enjoyed playing in front of the darling home crowd. Some of us who play in foreign leagues had missed this feeling,” said the defender, who turns out for Zambian giants Nkana.

He added: “I wish the trend continues as we campaign to return to Afcon finals next year especially next month when we play Ethiopia in crucial matches.”