Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee has lofty ambitions and is determined to guide Kenya to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on his fifth stint as Harambee Stars coach.
But it will not be a walk in the park for the veteran coach, who is also a TV pundit, after he was unveiled as Francis Kimanzi’s successor yesterday, at Safari Park Hotel.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) offered the 52-year-old tactician a three-year deal.
Having been pooled in a tricky Group E of World qualifiers against Mali, Uganda and Rwanda, where winners will progress to the next round of the competition, Mulee must do his homework well to secure the elusive World Cup ticket for Kenya.
However, before the global qualification that begins in June next year, the former Tusker coach, who was in charge of Harambee Stars when they qualified for the 2004 Afcon finals in Tunisia, will have a task of guiding the national team to the continental finals in 2022, in Cameroon followed by the 2023 edition.
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Mulee is expected to begin his duty by naming his technical bench then his playing unit ahead of next month’s two legged tie 2021 Afcon qualifiers clash against Group G leaders Comoros Islands.
Though Mulee might have been out in the cold for almost a decade, he believes with good preparations and support from the government and the federation, he can make the impossible, possible.
“I want to thank the federation for having faith in me and believing that I can steer the team to the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup, in 2022. We had very lengthy discussions as to what the ambitions of the federation are. And after seeing the working conditions are favourable, I told myself 'I need to give it a shot,” said Mulee.
“It’s a difficult task ahead because the first two games against Comoros are very tough but quite important at the same time. However, with the team that I saw play Zambia and the one that played the first two games against Egypt and Togo, there is every possibility that we can go back Afcon."
“I think once a driver always a driver. There is a time we used to drive manual cars but today we are driving automatic vehicles. I think I’ve been in the game throughout since the time I coached Harambee Stars in 2010. Therefore, I have no doubt in my mind and Kenyans will judge me from November 11, when we play Comoros."
“I can’t promise anything but as you all know, coaching is not a talking job but action-oriented. Let's wait and talk after 90 minutes," added the tactician.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa said they settled on Mulee because of his experience and that they share same ambitions.
“I’ve brought you Ghost, who everybody knows as the last Kenyan coach to take us to Afcon finals in 2004," said Mwendwa.
Meanwhile, Mwendwa said the federation has agreed on a payment formula with four of their former Harambee Stars coaches.
The FKF president said former coach Francis Kimanzi and his predecessors Sebastian Migne, Adel Amrouche and Bob Williamson will all be paid their dues.
FKF was last year ordered by the courts to pay Amrouche and Williamson a combined compensation fees of Sh168 million for wrongful dismissals.
“We have had payment issues with some of the former coaches who were here before we came into office. We don’t have a problem with the former coaches because we have agreed on a payment formula with all of them,” said Mwendwa.
“For Adel, we have agreed on a payment schedule and even given him a down payment; we will continue paying him until 2022. It is the same situation with Bob Williamson. Sebastian Migne’s issue is also being handled and we are almost clearing him.”
“Kimanzi also had a clause on his contract that would guide us in case we parted ways. We are going to abide by it.”