Offer more chances to local players, ex-Stars skipper Otieno tells ‘Ghost’
John Kyanda roving writer, football
Former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno has urged the national team head coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee to continue giving more opportunities to local based players during the national team call ups.
The recent international break saw a number of local-based players impress and Otieno credits that to the improved level of competition in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League.
Among the fresh faces who were handed calls-ups were; Elvis Rupiah, Erick Kapaito, Johnstone Omurwa, Clyde Senaji and Bandari winger Abadallah Hassan who impressed against Egypt and Togo, scoring in both encounters.
“The friendly matches and the qualifiers that the team played last we saw the potential the local players have. It’s very important to build the foundation of a national team with the best of local players because they encounter each other frequently so it’s easy to gel when called upon for the national duties.
We have very good foreign-based players and I feel from what I saw recently it’s important to get proper balance among the players,” said Otieno.
Having drawn against Egypt and picked an away win against Togo in the AFCON qualifiers, the former skipper believes Kenya has what it takes to qualify for the next round of the World Cup qualifiers because of the good blend between the local and foreign players.
“We didn’t qualify for the Cup of Nations which was a big blow but now I feel this time round in the World Cup Qualifiers we are better prepared ahead of the assignment.
The most important thing is to get the maximum points at home and try to win some away matches and at least a draw where we can’t get maximum points. I believe the sky is the limit for Kenya right now and with proper planning nothing is impossible,” added Otieno who turned out for Sanlam Santos in the South African league, at his prime.
Stars will take on Mali, Uganda, and Rwanda in the first round of the World Cup qualifiers as they angle for a maiden slot to the Qatar showpiece, set for next year.
The former skipper also noted some improvement in the Kenyan Premier League insisting it has been motivated by some sponsors coming on board but believes more can be done to improve the quality of the game.
“With the sponsorship coming on board we have seen improvement in terms of competition across all the table. Top teams have lost to average teams and those who have been seen a underdogs are mounting challenge for the title . It’s unfortunate the league has stopped but when its resumes I’m hoping to see more exciting matches,”Otieno told Citizen Digital.
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