Super Eagles prevail over Harambee Stars

By nesta kizito
Jun 05, 2013
  • Nigeria players celebrate Musa Ahmed's goal against Kenya at the Moi international Sports Centre, Kasarani. Nigeria won 1-0.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Victor Mugabe in action during the Harambee Stars game. Nigeria won 1-0.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

Kenya’s chances of qualification for the 2014 World Cup all but went up in smoke after Harambee Stars put up a lethargic performance to succumb to a 0-1 defeat to Nigeria on Wednesday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

With talismanic captain Dennis Oliech and top rated goalkeeper Arnold Origi both missing in action, a jaded Harambee Stars huffed and puffed the whole afternoon and just like in the first leg encounter in Calabar, Adel Amrouche men fell to a late strike by the opposition.

CSKA Moscow striker Ahmed Musa, a constant pain in Kenya’s flesh, delivered the kiss of death by latching on to a half chance with an opportunistic striker in the 81st minute as Kenya went to slumber.

The results mean that Kenya’s chances of progressing to the play off for a place in next year’s World Cup have been extinguished.

With the other Group F match between Malawi and Namibia ending in a barren draw, Nigeria have jumped to top of the group with 8 points from four matches followed by Malawi on 6 points.

Namibia remains third with 4 points while Kenya is rock bottom on 2 points with just two rounds of matches remaining.

Slow start 

Kenya started the match slowly and was almost jolted within the first five minutes of play when the Nigerians combined well inside the box but the final shot from Brown Ideye went off target.

Harambee Stars took far long to settle into the match with Ahmed Musa a constant source of threat.

In the 12th minute Kenya survived another big scare when Musa swung in a free kick from the left of the penalty box but the ball went over the bar.

Even when the Kenya got into its rhythm, the midfield comprising Peter Opiyo, Francis Kahata and Jamal Mohammed lacked that touch of brilliance to break down the opposition.

Jamal, in particular, was getting decent supplies but was guilty of holding on too long to the ball while Kahata was a tad too slow in releasing front man Kepha Aswani.

Kenya’s best chance of the first half, came on the stroke of half time when Jamal and Wanyama exchanged a one-two but the latter’s bicycle kick went over the top as the home crowd held its breathe.

Sucker punch

In the second half, the Kenyan technical bench threw in Stephen Waruru for the ineffective Aswani but he too failed to reinvigorate the Kenyan attack.

In the 75th minute, Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel was given a time and space to turn and shot infront of the 18 yard box but the ball flashed above the crossbar.

Then just when Kenya seemed to despair, Nigeria delivered the sucker punch.

The Nigerians won possession deep within their half and a long ball punted forward reached Musa who beat the backtracking Brian Mandela for pace and power before expertly turning in a looping shot well beyond Duncan Ochieng’s reach.

The manner in which the Nigerians celebrated the goal hinted at how relived they were to score in a match that they were clearly not at their best.

Kenya’s next assignment will be against Malawi away in Blantyre next week on Wednesday.