Misfiring Stars fail to cross ‘The Mediterranean’
Misfiring Harambee Stars were on Tuesday held to a dour barren draw by Libya in a group ‘A’ Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup match played at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
The Stars were in rampant win, beating Rwanda 2-0 in their opening match in day one of action at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on Sunday, but could not get their scoring boots before a handful of fans in Machoks as Libya, popularly known as The Mediterranean Knights, made life difficult for them, marching them toe-for toe.
In an earlier kickoff at the Machakos’ Kenyatta Stadium, Zanzibar humbled 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan) bound Rwanda 3-1, sealing the Amavubi Bees second defeat.
Mudathir Yahya, Issa Juma and Kassim Suleiman scored one goal apiece for the islanders, with Hakizimana Muhatthir pulling one back for the Antoine Hey coached side.
Elsewhere in Bukhungu, Kakamega, Ethiopia ran riot over South Sudan in the only Group B match of the day.
The Walya Antelopes took the lead in the 24th minute through Abel Yalew, who sealed a brace five minutes into the second stanza.
Abubakher Sanni then hit the third in the 57th minute, marking a promising start for the Ashenafi Bekele coached side who lead the group with three points.
Tough unyielding challenge
Harambee Stars coach Paul Put admitted Libya is a strong side, calling it a tough unyielding challenge.
Put is confident the four points registered so far should instil enough self-believe in his charges, ahead of their Saturday clash against Zanzibar.
“I have watched Libya playing before I came to Kenya. I even know some of the players who featured in today’s match. They are quite a solid side and the result we got against them is quite fair.
“It was another opportunity to see players. I need to see what each can offer as we continue, even as we qualify for the semi finals,” the Belgian averred.
Stars had a couple of chances in the first half, with Masoud Juma coming close in three occasions.
First, it was George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo who set him up from the left channel, beating Saed Ajbarah before shooting narrowly off target.
The Kariobangi Sharks and reigning Kenyan Premier League (KPL) top scorer had his second clear cut chance when Whyvonne Isuza looped the ball over Sabbou Motasem to find him outside the 18-yard box.
He turned quickly to lose his marker Tariq Aljamal, before unleashing a screemer that Azzaqah Ahmed could only punch out for a corner.
Odhiambo dashed along the left wing again to send a samptous cross across the goal, that missed Patillah Omoto’s attempted finish to find Juma, whose shot was cleared by Madden Muhanad at the line with custodian Azzaqah beaten.
Odhiambo had his shot deflected by Shafshuf Suhib and ricochetted a few feet off target, again having beaten the keeper.
In the second half, substitute Ovella Ochieng crossed to Duncan Otieno whose thunderous shot rattled the woodwork, in what was the closest attempt of the match.
Alrymariami Khalid tested Kenya’s Patrick Matasi with a powerful shot in the dying minutes of the match, giving him an opportunity for a standing ovation from thousands of fans appreciating his diving skills.
Kenya now has four points, one ahead of Zanzibar while Libya and Tanzania have two and one respectively.
Patrick Matasi (GK), Dennis Sikhayi, Jockins Atudo, Musa Mohammed, Wesley Onguso, Patillah Omotto, Duncan Otieno, Whyvonne Issuza, Chrispin Oduor, George Odhiambo, Masud Juma.
Boniface Oluoch, Gabriel Andika, Said Tsuma, Benard Ochieng, Kepha Aswani, Ovella Ochieng, Wellington Ochieng, Charles Momanyi, Vincent Oburu, Isaac Kipyegon, Ernest Wendo, Samuel Onyango.
Libya Starting XI
Ahmed Azzaqah (GK), Ahmed Eltribi, Saed Ajbarah, Tariq Aljamal, Motasem Sabbou, Suhib Shafshuf, Faisal Albadri (C), Muhanad Madeen, Tubal Mohammed, Mohammed Amer, Khalid Almaryami.
Ali Shniena, Abdullah Fathi (GK), Taher Elbarasi, Ali Maetouq, Mohamed Aleyat, Mohamed Amhimmed, Zakaria Alharaish, Muftah Taktak, Saeid Saleh
Kenya 0-0 Libya.
Rwanda 1-3 Zanzibar.
Ethiopia 3-0 South Sudan.
Additional reporting by Douglas Mutiso
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