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Stage fright, inexperience to blame for Harambee Stars loss - Ghost

In Summary

• Ghost points out that Stars respected their opponents too much but lauded the impact of the second half substitutions

• I am disappointed with the decision by Caf to introduce VAR in the knockout stages as the Algerian penalty could not have stood — Ghost

Kenya's Aboud Omar vies for the ball with Algeria's Riyad Mahrez
Kenya's Aboud Omar vies for the ball with Algeria's Riyad Mahrez
Image: /REUTERS

Former Harambee Stars coach Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee believes stage fright is to blame for Harambee Stars 2-0 loss to Algeria in their opening Africa Cup of Nations match on Sunday night.

Algeria capitalised on Kenya’s sluggish start into the match to seal the win within the first half, an outcome the revered coach has attributed to an inferiority complex.

Kenya, who qualified for the biannual tournament for the first time in 15 years, were handed a rude welcome by the Algerians, who had their goals through Baghdad Bounedjah and an own goal by Abud Omar.

 

Mulee points out that Stars respected their opponents too much but lauded the impact of the second half substitutions. After a disastrous first half coach Sebastien Migne introduced Erick 'Marcelo' Ouma and Johanna Omollo, a move which helped stabilize the overwhelmed midfield but the damage had already been done.

Former Harambee Stars coach Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee believes stage fright is to blame for Harambee Stars 2-0 loss to Algeria in their opening Africa Cup of Nations match on Sunday night. See story https://bit.ly/2X0v7lr

Mulee likened Stars display in the opener to that of the 2004 team, which returned to the tournament after 12 years but predicted an easier game against Tanzania on Thursday.

“I was not pleased with the way the team lost possession with ease and their tact of seating deep in their area. Stage fright and inexperience was rife just like 2004 where we returned to the tournament after 12 years in the cold and we respected them," said Mulee.

"We came up against the second best team in the continent and playing away from home also proved tricky but I am happy with the quality of substitutions made. I think we will win against Tanzania if we build from the second half performance.”

The former Tusker coach asserted that Algeria were gifted a dubious penalty that would have been ruled out had the Video Assistant Referee been used at the group stages. Dennis Odhiambo was adjudged to have brought down Youce Atal in the area but Mulee believes the there was no contact. The VAR will take effect from the knockout stages.

“I am disappointed with the decision by Caf to introduce VAR in the knockout stages as the Algerian penalty could not have stood. From the replays, which I have watched, there was no contact at all and it was a soft penalty according to me,” added Mulee.

While pundits called out Migne for his choice at the heart of the defence, Mulee showered debutant Joseph Okumu with praises for his outstanding display. Okumu was paired alongside Musa Mohammed after Joash Onyango suffered an ankle injury in training and the 20-year old defender punched above his weight and Mulee reckons that it will be hard for Migne to ignore him in the next matches.

 

“I would give him 7/10 for the defensive work. He was very tactical and hardly lost possession. I think his display will make it hard for the coach to ignore him," said Mulee.

"The defence was hit hard by injuries in before the tournament and I don’t think we missed Brian Mandela and Onyango.”