'Ghost' Mulee: No one is guaranteed a place in Harambee Stars squad
Harambee Stars coach Jacob Ghost Mulee reacts during their friendly match against South Sudan at Nyayo national stadium on March 13, 2021. Kenya won 1-0. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Harambee Stars coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee has insisted no player is guaranteed a place in the national team as he continues with his rebuilding process.

Mulee handed debuts to almost ten players in their recent friendly wins against South Sudan (1-0) and Tanzania (2-1) at Nyayo Stadium, but as they take on Taifa Stars in their second build-up tie at the same venue today, the former Tusker coach says he will select his final squad based on the players’ performance in the three friendlies.

Elvis Rupia, Collins Sichenje (AFC Leopards), Adisa Omar (Bidco United), Danson Chetambe (Bandari, Nahashon Alambi (KCB), Bonface Onyango, James Mazembe (Kariobangi Sharks), John Macharia (Gor Mahia), Henry Meja (Tusker) and Harun Mwale (Ulinzi Stars) all made their senior team debut in the last two matches.

Both teams, currently third in their respective 2021 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers Groups, are using the friendlies as part of their preparation ahead of their final group qualification fixtures.

While Kenya are set to host joint Group G leaders Egypt on March 22 in Nairobi before flying out to Lome to tackle bottom-rooted Togo on March 29, the Tanzanians face a tricky trip to Equatorial Guinea and a home match against Libya in Group J.

'Ghost' Mulee: No one is guaranteed a place in Harambee Stars squad
Harambee Stars players standing From left: Mike Kibwage, Eric Kapaito, Harun Mwale, Michael Mutinda, Johnstone Omurwa, Kenneth Muguna, Front From left: Lawrence Juma, James Mazembe, James Saruni, Daniel Sakari and Kevin Kimani before playing Taifa Stars of Tanzania during a friendly match at Nyayo National Stadium on Monday, March 15, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

“Of course we are building a team for the future and that is why we have involved the local-based players in these friendlies. There is nothing like these players will not feature against Egypt or Togo,”Mulee told Standard Sports.

“It is all about competition in the national team and those who have proven themselves in these friendlies will definitely get a chance in the final squad and hopefully make a good combination with the foreign-based players.”

But having been boosted by the arrival of their dependable Simba SC players, Mulee knows how difficult today’s match will be as Kim Poulsen and his men will be determined to exact revenge on Kenya.

“It is not easy to beat a team twice in a span of four days and that’s why we are prepared for a very tough game against Tanzania. The arrival of their Simba players gives them an edge, but I feel the boys are ready to give them a run for their money,” said Mulee.

However, for Tanzania to cancel out Monday’s defeat, Poulsen wants his backline to be solid.

“Harambee Stars gave us a good fight in the first friendly. For me as a coach it was a very interesting game because it gave us a clear picture on which area we need to work on,” said Poulsen.

“But our headline will be on how we defend. We are making too many individual mistakes, so we have some work to do to strengthen our defense because we are giving too many chances away.”

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