By James Waindi
Harambee Stars coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee believes Kenya needs a miracle to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon and the 2013 event in Libya after a barren draw against Uganda Cranes at the Nyayo Stadium.
Kenya are now bottom of Group J with a single point after two qualifiers and their chances of topping the pool to guarantee their passage to the continental showcase look gloomy with four more qualifiers to go.
Stars could still not break the Ugandan jinx despite creating a glut of chances, but failing to beat an impressive Dennis Onyango in the Crane’s goal.
“To be honest it is now very tough for us now and it needs miracle to qualify after a loss and a draw in our first two matches. This group is very tough and having a single point from two matches tells the story,” said Mulee, who took the team to the 2004 event in Tunisia.
Mulee lauded Uganda for their confidence in the match, but rued Stars’ missed chances and said they would still fight on in the remaining four qualifiers despite being in an awkward position.
“Uganda has really improved and they have showed that they are a very tough side with the confidence and display they showed here today. First half we did not play our match maybe because of immense pressure and hard tackles, but the match opened up in the second half where we created a host of chances, but failed to convert them,” Mulee said.
Inter Milan midfielder McDonald Mariga hit the post twice while Cranes custodian Onyango, who turns out for South Africa side Mpumalanga Black Aces heroically thwarted Dennis Oliech and parried Victor Mugabe’s rebound to safety, before stopping Allan Wanga’s point blank shot later in the match.
Uganda captain Ibrahim Ssekagya said the match could have gone either way and that they were satisfied with the point and told Kenyans to prepare for an uphill task when they travel to Kampala for the second leg next year.
“Stars had their chances and we had ours too. I think the match was very balanced and earning a point at Nyayo Stadium has never been easy for any team, so we will be going back home heads high after this result,” said the Cranes and Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) captain