'Ghost' says he will continue Kimanzi's rebuilding process
"As a qualified coach, you don't change a winning team," those were the words of Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee after he was re-appointed as Harambee Stars coach.
The 52-year-old former Tusker and Yanga coach cum TV pundit was reacting to a question on whether he will retain the squad of his predecessor Francis Kimanzi.
This is the fifth time Mulee, who was offered a three-year deal, is returning to the national team's dugout after being out in the cold for almost a decade.
He was last involved in Stars' assignment way back in 2010 at the Cecafa Senior Challenge in Tanzania.
Kimanzi was abruptly shown the door on Tuesday with the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) claiming the decision to end their 14-month marriage was on mutual consent.
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The news shocked the entire nation as it happened at a time when Kimanzi was still rebuilding the national team with the aim of returning to the 2022 Africa Nations Cup finals in Cameroon.
The Dutch-trained tactician, who was Sebastian Migne's assistant when Kenya participated at last year's Afcon finals in Egypt, had begun the qualification journey with a famous 1-1 away draw against giants Egypt in a Group G tie before holding Togo by the same margin at Kasarani Stadium.
But having watched most of Kenya's matches including their recent 2-1 friendly win over Zambia's Chipolopolo, Mulee, who guided Harambee Stars at the 2004 finals at Tunisia is confident of repeating the feat on his fifth stint.
“The last time Harambee Stars played, they beat Zambia and in coaching principle you don’t change a winning side,” said Mulee.
And with no time to rest, Mulee, who is expected name his assistants in the next few days, said his job is to ensure the foreign-based players are available for next month's (November 11/15) two-legged tie 2021 AFCON qualifiers clash against Group G leaders Comoros Islands.
Mulee knows how important the foreign-based are players in achieving his mission to qualify for both the 2022 Afcon and World Cup finals.
“Well, I know sometimes you have organisation and expect some players to be in the team but some big players get injured and you have to replace them," said Mulee.
"Covid-19 is a very tricky situation for sure but we are trying to engage these players through the federation to ensure they are available. We are talking to their clubs to allow the players honour national team duty. They know how important the Afcon qualification is starting with the Comoros game. We will try to get most of these players for the game.”
Most of the dependable foreign-based players led by captain Victor Wanyama and Michael Olunga failed to travel for the Zambia friendly.
Other key players who missed the fixture are experienced goalkeeper Arnold Origi, Joseph Okumu, Ayub Timbe and Johanna Omolo.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t finish off our work, but I don’t want to dwell much on that, it’s in the past now. I wish my successor all the best in his new job. I hope he picks up from where we left and have a successful moment,” Kimanzi.