Former Harambee Stars coach asks team not to rely on Wanyama

By Gilbert Wandera: Wednesday, September 5th 2018 at 09:46 GMT +3 | Football
Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama and Leoneuco Wanumua of Mozambique in a past international friendly match at Kasarani [Courtesy]

Former Harambee Stars coach Jacob Mulee has asked the team not to focus too much on captain Victor Wanyama ahead of Saturday’s crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ghana at Kasarani.

Mulee, the last coach who guided Kenya to the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia in 2004, said Wanyama, who is recovering from an injury, is unlikely to be at his best even if his English club Tottenham Hotspur release him for the clash.

“We are just putting ourselves under a lot of pressure by thinking about Wanyama’s availability. The truth of the matter is that he may not be available considering that he is just resuming after an injury layoff. It would not make sense for his club to release him,” said Mulee.

“The best thing to do is get a replacement because even if he comes, he will not be in his best shape. This is a big game for Stars and Wanyama has not been playing competitively. He may not be of much help.”

The Kenyan captain is lacking match fitness and has not played for his club since the English Premier League (EPL) began on August 10.

The midfielder sustained a knee injury during Tottenham’s tour of the USA last year and was just coming back before picking another injury in pre-season.

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Wanyama tussles for the ball with Chelsea's Victor Moses [Courtesy]

Despite his doubt, Harambee Stars coach Sebastian Migne named Wanyama into his team when he announced a 38-member squad that is currently training at Kenya School of Monetary Studies ahead of the Ghana clash on Saturday.

Mulee has termed Saturday’s fixture one that will decide the destiny of the team and insists it is a do-or-die affair.

“Harambee Stars have a big advantage on paper considering they are playing at home,” said Mulee.

“This is a match that will decide the team’s destiny and one that they must win.”

“Victory will get Harambee Stars back on the qualification path because like Ghana, they will have three points each as they await results from the Ethiopia versus Siera Leone match. It can be done and the opportunity is there.”

Mulee has also asked coach Migne to quickly identify his team and begin to focus on making them ready for Ghana’s Black Stars.

“The new coach has not had a lot of time with the team and needs to quickly identify his key players not just for the Ghana tie, but also for the other up-coming fixtures,” he added.

Stars are third in group ‘F’ after losing 2-1 to Sierra Leone in their opening match.

Ghana are top with three points after their 5-0 win over Ethiopia.