Zambia hold Kenya, but Miya ends Uganda's 39-year wait

By alex wafula
Sep 04, 2021
  • Harambee Stars have nothing to celebrate despite a 1-1 draw with Zambia in Ndola. The celebrations are in Uganda who ended a 39-year wait to qualify for AFCON. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Harambee Stars finished bottom of Group E of the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers after a 1-1 draw in the final qualifying match at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia on Sunday evening.

Elsewhere, neighbors Uganda Cranes broke a 39-year wait for an African Cup of Nations ticket as they beat Comoros 1-0 at the Nelson Mandela Stadium. Belgium-based teenage forward Faruku Miya scored the lone goal.

The win sees Uganda qualify for the 2017 showpiece as one of the best two second placed teams. Burkina Faso qualified as Group winners after a 2-1 win over Botswana.

In Ndola, Kenya who travelled to Zambia for a dead rubber were poised to finish third after leading 1-0  but a lapse in concentration saw skipper Ranford Kalaba equalize in the 87th minute.

In the other group match, Congo Brazzaville beat Guinea Bissau at home, but it was too little too late as on 10 points, Guinea Bissau had already qualified for the Nations Cup.

The hosts, Zambia, also with no chance of qualification but pride at stake started off well with Kalaba and Winstone Kalengo, who scored the winner in the first leg in Nairobi running rings around the Kenyan defense.

Easy pick

Kalaba tested Kenya keeper Boniface Oluoch early with a fourth minute shot, but the custodian made an easy pick. Kalaba had another effort after 24 minutes from the left but his shot went wide.

Kenya were organized but lacked the killer instinct in the final third. In the 28th minute, skipper Victor Wanyama released Eric Johannah on the right.

The Mathare United man floated a decent cross but Simon Silwimba cleared the ball with Timbe lurking at the far post.

Jesse Were who was familiar with the ground where he plies his trade for Zesco United had a chance against his club team mate Jacob Banda in the Zambia goal, but his shot from distance was deflected for a corner.

Zambia got off to a flyer in the second pinning Kenya into their half. But against the run of play, Timbe lobbed the ball over the advancing Banda after rushing to meet a well weighted long pass from Wanyama.

Stanley Okumbi, the Harambee Stars coach then introduced some fresh pair of legs in the forward line, Michael Olunga coming on for Were. Three minutes after Harambee Stars scored, Zambia came close to equalizing.

Nathan Sinkala met the ball unmarked at the far post from a Kalaba corner, but he couldn’t connect on target.

Ten minutes later, Kalaba had an effort with his freekick bending beyond the wall but Oluoch pulled up a great save to punch the ball out of danger.

Thehosts kept the pressure and got the equalizer with three minutes to spare, Kalaba volleying the ball home from a Felix Katongo chipped pass.