Kenya yet to hit right gear in World Cup Qualifiers after second draw against Rwanda

Monday, September 6th, 2021 00:00 |
Kenya’s Michael Olunga in action against Uganda Cranes Thursday last week during their Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying match in Nairobi. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Michael Olunga missed a sitter in the 57th minute but his first half opener earned Harambee Stars an important 1-1 draw away in the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, CAF Group E clash, against Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars.

The 27-year-old Olunga gave Harambee Stars the lead in the second minute after good play from the middle.

However before the break, Rwanda’s Abdul Rwatubtyaye equalised against the run of play to cut Kenya’s celebrations.

Jacob “Ghost” Mulee’s charges are now on two points off two matches following their goalless draw against Uganda in Nairobi last week as group leaders Mali meet Uganda today in a heavyweight clash in Bamako to see if they can open their lead. 

It was an improved showing with the Kenyans facing familiar faces in the shape of former Gor Mahia duo of Meddie Kagere and Jacques Tuyisenge alongside Tusker custodian Emery Mvuyekure.

Harambee Stars had good spells on the ball especially through the flanks with good speed on counters.

Once again, the midfield duo of Richard Odada and Kenneth Muguna were active as they battled hard with their opposing number Djihad Bizimana.

Once again in the goal area, Ian Otieno of Harambee Stars was shielded efficiently by the central defense of youngster Joseph Okumu alongside Tusker FC captain Eugene Asike.

 Solid game 

The hosts on the other hand were ambitious with Tuyisenge and Kagere having efforts but Otieno in goal was up to the task.

To this end Odada was great in cutting danger and carrying the ball to space before spraying passes to the likes of Daniel Sakari and Boniface Muchiri but to little effect as Mvuyekure was alert in goal well shielded by Fitina Omborenga and Emmanuel Imanishimwe. 

Lawrence Juma was also great in combining play with the men upfront but sadly Masoud Juma and Eric Johana were either too slow or wasteful as the Rwandese were quicker to react to any danger thus making Olunga almost frustrated.

Olunga had a great effort in the 57th minute after being put through by Muguna but he was late in execution following his quick movement in the box which left two defenders flat-footed.

The lanky Al Duhail SC striker was often marooned which gave him limited options to explore even with some ingenuity coming from Azam FC midfielder Muguna to try and find the Kenyan captain in space.

However when he got the ball on his feet, he failed to find the target in a match in which he could have netted at least two more goals from  open play.

Kenya’s midfield dynamo Odada was booked in the second half but otherwise had a solid game.

Harambee Stars’ next World Cup Qualifier will be next month in Nairobi (October 10) against leaders Mali.

More on Sports