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Harambee Stars coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee has reiterated his stance his main desire is to make sure Kenya qualify for the 2022 Fifa World Cup to be held in Qatar. 

When the 53-year-old tactician took the mantle of handling the team from fired Francis Kimanzi on October 21, 2020, he categorically stated that his main task is to help the country to reach their first-ever World Cup.

And on Wednesday, after taking the team through their last training session ahead of their first group match, Mulee maintained nothing has changed from what he said during his unveiling, maintaining his burning desire is to see Kenya in Qatar in 2022.

What did Mulee say?

“I think God gave me this job with a purpose and I am also here with a purpose, I have been with this team to Africa Cup of Nations before, and I also have that huge desire to reach Qatar, so I will do all I can to make sure, I succeed with this team and we play in Qatar,” Mulee told Goal at Nyayo Stadium.

“I know it will not be an easy task, looking at the group we are pooled in but if God will give us passage past the group stage [maybe by topping the group], because that is our desire and target [to top the group], then we will get ready for the knockout stage where only ten teams will remain from Africa.”

On whether he is feeling pressure heading into the ‘Migingo derby, Mulee said: “It is a huge responsibility for sure handling the national team, 50million Kenyans behind your back and we know what is ahead of us, we respect Uganda a lot and we know head to head they have an advantage over Kenya.

Harambee Stars coach Jacob Mulee.

“But that is history for now, and tomorrow [Thursday] we will also have an opportunity for us to start rewriting our own history and we will do everything possible to make sure we get a good result and if we start by getting a win, then it will give us a head start.”

Mulee continued: “It is an opening game and we are all fighting to qualify and we have the hunger to reach Qatar and our opponents have always been on top of Kenya for a long time but it will be a new dawn for us and we will strive to bag three points.

“We must make sure we make good use of playing the first match at home because if you win your home matches, it gives you a good start and puts you in a good position to qualify and also the advantage to do well because after Uganda we end to Rwanda.”

Mulee reveals Covid-19 challenges

On whether Covid-19 pandemic has affected any of his plans for the Cranes game, Mulee explained: “Yes, Covid-19 has affected us, for example when I plan my team you are not sure if they will end up playing the way you want because when the results come, and you find some players are positive, then you have to start from point zero to make up your squad.

“We went to Togo and missed some players because of Covid-19 during the Afcon qualifiers and it also happened when we played against Comoros, but when the players came back home and were tested, they were negative, so it is shocking sometimes to see the results we get.

“It also gives us coaches difficult times, because you are not sure if the squad you have planned to use for a match will be available on matchday, it gives us tough times to plan but I also think not Kenya alone, other nations maybe are also having the same problems like us and we don’t have anything to stop it.”

Kenya’s other opponents in the group’s qualifier are Mali, who will play Rwanda in their opener at Stade Adrar Stadium on Wednesday By Dennis Mabuka, Goal

Photo Confederation of African Football

 

Rwanda coach Vincent Mashami named on Friday the final squad which will play Mali and Kenya in the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Amavubi are set to travel to Agadir, Morocco on Sunday where they will play their first match against Mali on September 1st. Rwanda will then face Kenya in Kigali on September 5th.

Players like Bryan Clovis Ngwabije, Thierry Manzi, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Rafael York, Yannick Mukunzi, Djihad Bizimana and Emmanuel Imanishimwe will join the team in Morocco.

In the second round of the World Cup qualifiers, Rwanda are in Group E alongside Mali, Uganda and Kenya. Only the top team will progress to the third and final round.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Emery Mvuyekure (Tusker FC, Kenya), Eric Ndayishimiye, Clément Buhake Twizere (Strommen IF, Norway)

Defenders: Abdul Rwatubyaye (Shkupi FK, Macedonia), Salomon Nirisarike (Urartu FC, Armenia), Thiery Manzi (FC Dila Gori, Georgia), Omborenga Fitina(APR FC), Emmanuel Imanishimwe (FAR Rabat, Morocco), Emery Bayisenge, Denis Rukundo (AS Kigali), Eric Rutanga (Police FC), Bryan Clovis Ngwabije (SC Lyon, France).

Midfielders: Olivier Niyonzima, Kevin Muhire, Djihad Bizimana (KMSK Deinze, Belgium), Martin Fabrice Twizeyimana (Police FC), Yannick Mukunzi (Sandvikens IF, Sweden) and Haruna Niyonzima(AS Kigali).

Strikers: Muhadjiri Hakizimana (Police FC), Maddie Kagere (Simba SC, Tanzania), Jacques Tuyisenge (APR FC), Lague Byiringiro Lague(APR FC) and Onesme Twizerimana (Police FC). - Confederation of African Football

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan. Photo AFP/Getty Images

 

(CNN) - Tanzania's women football team have reacted following comments from Tanzania's female President Samia Suluhu Hassan describing female footballers as "flat-chested," and unattractive for marriage.

"To those athletes who are flat-chested, one can easily think that they are men," Hassan had said at a state event last Sunday to celebrate Tanzania's Under-23 men's team in the coastal city of Dar-es-Salaam.
""It is unfortunate that there is no hope of marriage life for some of these athletes, marriage is like a dream for them. If one of you was to pick one of the athletes and take her home as a wife to meet your parents, I am sure your mother would be surprised and confused as to whether it's a woman or a man," the president said.
Elsewhere in her speech, she emphasized the need to increase funding for the country's athletes, especially sportswomen and looking after them in retirement.
A video of Hassan's speech, which was delivered in Swahili, sparked outrage after it was widely shared on social media.
Hassan, 61, is the country's first female president who was sworn in after the death of predecessor John Magufuli in March this year.
Her reign was touted to usher in a more liberal stance from her predecessor's often repressive regime.
 
"The comment by president @SuluhuSamia on women footballers is a humiliation to all women," said forner MP Catherine Ruge, head of the women's arm of the opposition Chadema party.

Remarks 'misinterpreted'

The Presidency has not commented on the uproar following Hassan's remarks, however, senior players of Tanzania's national women's team 'Twiga Stars,' said at a press conference Thursday that she had been misinterpreted.
"There is a statement that the president had spoken about and people interpreted it in different ways," one player said.
"The president's statement gave us, the players, a lot of strength and encouragement, which made us to work very hard in sports. We have not seen anything with that statement."
Another player stated women footballers in the country are not bothered by their physical looks.
"We are beautiful, we are wonderful like other women and we also plan to be mothers someday. The question about appearance on our side is not something that really matters to us... The game we play needs a lot of strength. We will not stop doing exercising to build our muscles and strengths in order to reach our goals," the player, who was not named, said.

'Unfortunate remark'

Maria Sarungi Tsehai, an activist and founder of the #ChangeTanzania movement, described President Hassan's remarks as "body-shaming," and "completely unacceptable and unexpected from a woman leader."
"This kind of soundbite from the president of the country, especially one who's a woman is easily pounced upon by sexist and misogynistic people," Tsehai told CNN.
"It's a very unfortunate remark, considering the fact that she (Hassan) has been celebrated in Africa as the first female president of Tanzania — overcoming stereotypes and the perceptions people have that a woman cannot be the leader of a country."
"For her to turn that around and use stereotyping against these women who are also breaking stereotypes...especially in a male-dominated sport like football, is very unfortunate," she added. - Nimi Princewill, CNN

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