Kenya makes slow start to their World Cup qualifying campaign with a draw against rivals Uganda

Friday, September 3rd, 2021 00:00 |
Harambee Stars midfielder Richard Odada (left) vies for the ball against Uganda Cranes’ Karisa Milton during their FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Nyayo Stadium yesterday. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

National football team Harambee Stars, yesterday had a slow start to their Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign by sharing spoils with neighbours Uganda in a 0-0 lacklustre Group E match played at Nyayo Stadium.

Initially, Harambee Stars head coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee had indicated that for Harambee Stars to have a realistic chance of qualifying for their first ever World Cup event, they needed to win all their home matches in the qualifying campaign, try pick two more wins away and probably one draw away from home, but after yesterday’s stalemate on home soil, the local side may have to pull their weight in the remaining fixtures if they are to make history by booking a ticket to Qatar.

Kenya dominated the entire match, but never looked dangerous in their opponents’ box, allowing the neighbours to pick a point from Nairobi.

Mali already tops the group after pipping Rwanda in Bamako on Wednesday night.

Mulee surprisingly gave 20-year-old Richard Odada a starting role in defensive midfield on his debut to the national team and the Serbian based player who is on loan at for top league side FK Metalac from Red Star Belgrade, did not disappoint as he kept the veteran Uganda players led by Khalid Aucho and Emmanuel Okwi at bay in central midfield.

In central defense, the veteran tactician opted for the partnership of Joseph Okumu and Eugene Asike.

Stars had some flashes in the first half, with Abdallah Hassan shooting across the goal in the 29th minute as Michael Olunga narrowly missed connection.

Eric Johana replaced injured Lawrence Juma in the 30th minute and almost scored in the 36th minute with his first touch of the ball, but his strike from outside the box went wide as the match went to half time tied 0-0.

On resumption, Masoud Juma’s diving header in the 54th minute narrowly missed target with Uganda’s custodian Charles Lukwago in no man’s land.

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