Mambas bite Harambee Stars at home
National team Harambee Stars capitulated in the second half of international friendly against Mozambique losing 1-0 at Kasarani Stadium yesterday.
After a spirited beginning in which Kenya played mostly in opposition half the team fizzled odd in the later stages slumping to a loss at home to a lower ranked team.
The loss leaves coach Francis Kimanzi with a huge mental barrier to break having drawn with Uganda during his first game in charge. It was equally hard to comprehend how Kenya with most possession and a dozen scoring opportunities failed to find the back of the net even once.
After the opening half of near-total collapse, Mozambique made a flurry of substitutions which turned the game around as they competed with Kenya on equal footing and capitalised on a grave mistake at the back to punish Harambee Stars.
An over-confident Joseph Okumu lost possession to substitute Amancio Canhembe just outside the 18-yard box and the Mozambican forward wriggled his way past Joash Onyango and the faulty Okumu before poking home past Farouk Shikhalo.
With five changes made from the team that held Uganda at home, only Lawrence Juma and Cliff Nyakeya looked dangerous for Kenya. Shikhalo did not overly impress in his audition and captain Victor Wanyama looked brighter despite lack of game time at his club.
Kenyan’s first four scoring chances fell to the Japan-based Michael Olunga but the lanky striker squandered, three of them by his own folly while Mozambican goalkeeper Julio Pedro bravely saved one.
Cliff Nyakeya, the Cairo-based winger teed up Olunga in the fourth minute with Kenya all over their visitors. Facing the goal 24 yards out Olunga decided to go for glory with low, shot which Pedro required two takes to tame.
Failed to hit target
In the 14th minute Olunga faced Baptiste one-on-one but the hesitant Kenyan talisman dilly-dallied with the ball when he could have taken the shot with his stronger left foot. Mozambique poured back in numbers and thwarted Olunga’s pull back to Kenneth Muguna and Kenya’s best chance fizzled out.
Nyakeya then went for glory just after the half hour mark with a ferocious strike from range after Olunga had fluffed what ought to have been a simple tap in. The visitors finished the half strongly, fending of Kenya while failing to register a single shot on target.
Kenya’s second half openings fell to substitutes Jesse Were and Whyvonne Isuza but both players failed to hit the target as Kenya sought a way back into the game. Were had the goal to himself after Mozambique substitute goalkeeper fell down trying to clear Duke Abuya’s cross but the prolific Zesco man directed his shot over the bar. Isuza also failed to score from a rebound after Olunga’s attempt came off the goalkeeper, instead the AFC Leopards man hoofed the ball in the sky.