Harambee Stars force draw with Malawi

By nesta kizito
Jun 12, 2013
  • Photo:SNA File

Just like in their two previous matches, Kenya’s Harambee Stars conceded a late goal against Malawi in a 2014 World Cup qualifier in Blantyre, but notched a late goal of their own to force a 2-2 draw.

In a match of little implication in their campaign, Stars kept the hosts at bay in the first 45 minutes only to fall back within the first minute after the break when Robin Ngalande gave the Flames the lead.

But in a strong show of character that the team seldom displays, Adel Amrouche’s men draw level in 52 minute courtesy of Andrew Murunga who scored his first goal on his first full international debut.

The Malawian thought they had scored what would have been a winning goal when Robert Ng’ambi struck in the 81st minute, but an 89th minute own goal by Chimango Kayira denied them victory.

The Kenyan team fielded an understrength side that missed the services of deposed captain Dennis Oliech, newly appointed skipper Victor Wanyama, Kepha Aswani, Johanna Omollo and Stephen Waruru. Football Kenya Federation NEC member Hussein Terry lauded the Stars for a good performance.

"The team has played very well and we didn't even miss the missing players. Jamal Mohammed was the best player in the match, and he even assisted Murunga for the first goal,” Terry said in a telephone interview from Malawi.

The result opened a window of opportunity for group leaders Nigeria to enhance their chances of qualification.

Kenya is still bottom of Group F with 3 points from five matches, while Malawi moved to 7 points from an equal number of matches.

Nigeria, who were still goalless with Namibia in Windhoek at half time in a 9pm kick off match, are on top with 8 points while Namibia have 3 points.

A 0-1 loss at home to Nigeria seven days ago all but ended Stars hopes of progressing to the play-offs, and a well-publicized fall out between Amrouche and Oliech, plus injury and suspension to key players greatly limited the team’s options going into the match.

Still without a win in the campaign, Kenya’s last match against Namibia in Nairobi will be purely for academic purposes. The team was expected back home on Thursday.