H.Stars beat Zambia 2-1 in a friendly encounter at Nyayo Stadium

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BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,9TH OCT 202-Harambee Stars survived a late scare to edge Zambia 2-1 in an international friendly at the Nyayo International Stadium as football action resumed in the country for the time since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in March.

Cliff Nyakeya had a hand in both goals for the hosts who emerged from a slow start to lead 2-0 at the break but Zambia were much stronger after the restart, pulling one back were denied another by what looked like an officiating error.

Tindi Mwape diverted the ball into his own net for the opener from Nyakeya’s cross after the FC Masr attacker had been teed up by Kenneth Muguna.

The same combination worked to devastating effect moments later with Nyakeya firing home a superb finish from outside the area to put Francis Kimanzi’s charges 2-0 up which they preserved into the half time break.

Emmanuel Chabula scored the consolation for the visitors, who almost salvaged a draw but their goal was not awarded when replays showed it had crossed the goal-line.

It was a reverse result, of the last meeting at the same venue when Zambia won in an African Cup of Nations qualifier in 2015.

Stars started slowly, with lack of match fitness evident on the players but got better as the match progressed.

Kenya came close in the sixth minute with Zambia’s defense failing to clear a well floated in free kick in the box, but both Masoud Juma and Kenneth Muguna could not connect.

A sweet exchange of passes between Gor Mahia captain Muguna and Nyakeya from the right channel forced Zambia’s Tandi Mwape to score in his own goal in the 20th minute, giving Kenya the lead.

Nyakeya and Muguna were having no trouble in unlocking Zambia’s defense from the right flank, and in the 37th their partnership bore the second with the Egypt based attacker powerfully shooting past a diving Sebastien Mwange.

Just before the break, Stars escaped narrowly as Benson Sakala beat captain Brian Mandela and Joash Onyango only to fall before pulling the trigger. He however shot while still on the ground, having noticed keeper Ian Otieno off his line but the ball flew over the bar.

Just after the restart, Sakala had a chance to make for the lost chance after a clered ball fell on his path, but lost his footing and missed to shoot.

Towards the hour mark, Kimanzi withdrew Eric Johanna and Masoud Juma, who had quite a dull day to introduce Timothy Otieno and Hassan Abdallah respectively.

But it was Zambia who grew hungrier as the second stanza wore on, pressing the hosts into their own half for the better part. Thanks to Anthony Akumu’s anchored midfield, the pressure was relatively managed.

With 10 minutes to go, substitute Chabula beat Mandela to head to the left corner of the net to reduce the visitor’s deficit.

But Stars held on to win despite Zambia’s resilience, marking a sweet start for the team after nine months of inactivity, ahead of Kenya November’s African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

SQUADS

Kenya

Starting XI: Ian Otieno, Baraka Badi, Brian Mandela, Joash Onyango, David Owino, Antony Akumu, Lawrence Juma, Kenneth Muguna, Eric Johanna, Cliff Nyakeya, Masud Juma

Substitutes: Timothy Odhiambo, Johnstone Omurwa, Clarke Oduor, Philemon Otieno, Francis Kahata, Hassan Abdallah, Katana Mohamed, Austin Otieno, Elvis Rupia, Timothy Otieno, Oscar Wamalwa

Zambia

Starting XI: Sebastian Mwange, Lubambo Musambo, Zacharia Chilongoshi, Tandi Mwape, Kabaso Chongo, Benson Sakala, Kelvin Kapumbu, Edward Chilufya, Kings Kangwa, Evans Kangwa, Fashion Sakala

Substitutes: Lameck Siame, Jackson Kakunja, Kondwani Chibwoni, Godfrey Ngwenya, Luka Banda, Dominic Chanda, Leonard Mulenga, Chanza Zulu,Collins Sikombe, Gamphani Lungu, Emmanuel Chabula, Kelvin

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