Positive start for Kenya, but Put wants more from Harambee Stars

By alex wafula
Dec 04, 2017
  • Duncan Otieno wheels away after scoring a goal against Rwanda. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

Kenya’s Harambee Stars began their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup campaign positively, beating Rwanda’s 10-man Amavubi Stars 2-0 at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on Sunday.

In the other group match, Tanzania and Libya drew 0-0 in Machakos.

Masoud Juma and Duncan Otieno scored Kenya’s goals in the first half while Rwanda were reduced to 10 men, seven minutes into the second half after Soter Kayumba was sent off for a second yellow card.

Despite the win, Paul Put, in his first assignment as Harambee Stars coach was pleased with the result, but still says the team is yet to play as he wants them to.

“It was good for us to start with a win. The players played with heart and passion. Their desire was there and considering we only had one week together as a team this is good. But still, the team is not playing like I want them to play but as I said, it is a long road to go. There is so much we need to do,” the Belgian said.

Fans came in their droves and Harambee Stars enjoyed massive support at Bukhungu which hosted its first match in close to three years after renovation.

Also, it was the first time in the recent past that the national team staged a match in the Western Kenya town.

In this match, Kenya had a slow, showing nerves especially at the back. Rwanda had the opening chance in the fourth minute when Djabel Imanishimwe broke away on the right before laying in a cross.

However, the delivery was an inch over an advancing Eric Rutanga who missed his attempt with a header.

Slowly, Put’s men began to get their feet on the ground. George Odhiambo who was one of the best performers of the afternoon had a glorious opportunity in the 12th minute.

With his trademark fast running on the wings, he picked up a pass from Juma, broke into the box but his eventual shot was saved.

Crucial intervention

A minute later, Rwanda Eric Ndayishimiye made a crucial intervention to tip the ball away from Juma’s head as he prepared to spring in a header from a precise Samuel Onyango cross.

The pressure finally bore fruit in the 24th minute when Atudo was fouled in the box and Juma stepped forward, calmly sending Ndayishimiye the wrong way for the opener.

Juma should have had his second of the afternoon 10 minutes later. Whyvonne Isuza stole the ball off a Rwandese defender, spotted Juma unmarked inside the box.

However, the Kariobangi Sharks forward who hit 17 league goals this year and 25 in all competitions could not hit the target unmarked, curling the ball over. But a minute later, Harambee Stars were 2-0 up in the most emphatic of manners.

Odhiambo took a run on the left, crossed in with the ball falling on Isuza. The midfielder teed up his AFC Leopards captain who rifled a whistling shot past Ndayishimiye.

In the second half, the Rwandese started better but were slowed down seven minutes later when Kayumba was shown his second yellow for remonstrating with the referee.

With the heavens opening, it became difficult to play the ball on the ground with the two sides resorting to aerial balls. Rwanda sent ball after ball into the Kenyan box, but all were well defended.

In the final 15 minutes, Kenya had two great chances which fell on substitute Kepha Aswani. On both occasions, he was sent through by Isuza, but he could not beat Ndayishimiye.

Kenya Starting XI: Patrick Matasi, Jockins Atudo, Wesley Onguso, Musa Mohamed, Dennis Sikhayi, Duncan Otieno, Patillah Omotto, Whyvonne Isuza, George Odhiambo (Vincent Oburu 86’), Masoud Juma (Kepha Aswani 60’) , Samuel Onyango (Ernest Wendo 60’). Unused subs: Boniface Oluoch, Gabriel Andika, Said Tsuma, Chrispin Oduor, Wellington Ochieng, Charles Momanyi, Isaac Kipyegon, Bernard Ochieng, Ovella Ochieng.

Rwanda: Ndayishimiye Eric, Thiery Manzi, Faustin Usengimana, Soter Kayumba, Eric Rutanga, Eric Tiradukunda, Yanick Mukunzi, Djihad Bizimana, Biramahire Abedy, Justin Mico, Manishimwe Djabel. Subs Nzaroka Marcel (GK), Kimenyi Yves, Rugwiro Herve, Sekamana Matume, Niyonzima Ally, Mbugu, Imanishimwe Emmanuel, Hakizimana Muhadjiri, Innocent Ushuji, Oliver Niyozina Amran, Omborenga Fitina.

Sunday results: Kenya 2 Rwanda 0, Libya 0 Tanzania 0.

Fixtures: December 4: Uganda v Burundi (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega- 3 p.m.), December 5: Zanzibar v Rwanda (2 p.m.), Kenya v Libya (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos – 4 p.m.), Ethiopia v South Sudan (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega -3 p.m.); December 6: Rest Day; Dec 7: Tanzania v Zanzibar (2 p.m.), Rwanda v Libya (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos -4 p.m.), Ethiopia v Burundi (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega – 3 p.m.); December 8: Uganda v South Sudan (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega – 3 p.m.); December 9: Rwanda v Tanzania (2 p.m.), Kenya v Zanzibar (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos- 4 p.m.); December 10: Ethiopia v Uganda (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega – 3 p.m.); December 11: Libya v Zanzibar (2 p.m.), Kenya v Tanzania (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos – 4 p.m.), South Sudan v Burundi (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega -4 p.m.); December 12/13 – Rest days; December 14 – December 15: Semi finals – Moi Stadium, Kisumu; December 16: Rest Day: December 17: Third and fourth play-off/Final.