Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi believes the National team played beyond expectations and a 1-1 draw was a fair result from the high profile friendly match against Uganda Cranes.
Fielding question from the media after the final whistle, Kimanzi who was handling the team for the first time since he took over from sacked Sébastien Migné said he was impressed by his local lads who played according to his instructions but blamed poor finishing for the stalemate.
He said the absence of team captain Victor Wanyama was surely felt in the midfield adding that he had picked some positives from the compact Uganda Cranes midfield that rotated along former Gor Mahia kingpin Khalid Aucho, Taddeo Lwanga, and Allan Okello.
The former Mathare United FC tactician started Gor Mahia FC duo of Kenneth Muguna and Lawrence Juma, who made his debut in midfield.
Bandari FC’s Collins Agade and Kariobangi Sharks FC Samuel Olwande were also handed their maiden starts for Stars. The inclusion of Nicholas Kipkirui, Tusker FC’s Boniface Muchiri and Duke Abuya, who scored against Everton FC at the same venue in July, could not do much for Kimanzi’s charges whose chances went far and wide.
“I’m happy with my charges. We tried new call ups like Bandari’s Agade, Samuel Olwande, and Muchiri who proved they were equal to the task. We missed our captain Wanyama in the midfield who could have changed the tide of the game. Nevertheless, we have learnt some positives which are future investments in our future International assignments,” he noted.
Former Tanzania’s Simba Sports club striker Emmanuel Okwi scored the match opener in the 23rd minute when he caught Harambee Stars defence including Keeper Patrick Matasi off guard.
Kenya looked more inspired, and their efforts paid off in the 50th minute when Kenneth Muguna got to the end of an Ayub Timbe low cross to draw the hosts level. Michael Olunga, who scored two goals in a 3-2 Africa Cup of Nations win against Tanzania, was the captain on the day due to the absence of Wanyama.
The other notable absentee was Kimanzi assistant Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno who is in Germany for football training. Stars then fell victim of missed chances with Michael Olunga clearly not having his best of days, with the guests holding on for a 1-1 fulltime score.
The friendly match is a build-up to the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers set to be played in November.
Line-Up: 18. Patrick Matasi (GK), 17. Samuel Olwande, 3. Eric Ouma, 12. Mike Kibwage, 4. Joash Onyango, 13. Collins Agade, 6. Lawrence Juma, 15 Kenneth Muguna, 7. Ayub Timbe, 10. Eric Johanna, 14. Michael Olunga
Subs: 1. Faruk Shikalo (GK), 5. Johnstone Omurwa, 11. Brian Otieno, 19. Cliffton Miheso, 16. Francis Kahata, 21. Duke Abuya, 8. Whyvonne Isuza, 20. Cliff Nyakeya, 22. Boniface Muchiri, 9. Enosh Ochieng
Uganda Cranes: 18. Charles Lukwago (GK), 15. Willa Paul, 12. Mustafa Kizza, 17. Revita John, 3. Timothy Awany, 8, Khalid Aucho, 6. Taddeo Lwanga, 20. Allan Okello, 10. Luwagga Kizito, 7. Emmanuel Okwi, 2. Allan Kyambadde
Subs: 19. Joel Mutakubwa (GK), 4. Mujuzi Mustafa, 16. Halid Lwaliwa, 5. Muzamir Mutyaba, 14. Bright Anukani, 9. Fahad Aziz Bayo, 11. Allan Kayiwa
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