Kenya v Nigeria: What went wrong for Harambee Stars?
A combination of factors played out to deny Kenya victory over Nigeria’s Super Eagles on Wednesday.
Prior to the match, Harambee Stars never had the best preparations considering the level of competition they were going to get exposed to playing the African champions.
Compare this with the fact that the Super Eagles opted for a training camp in Germany and wound up their preparations with a high profile friendly match against Mexico and you can understand the difference in class between the two sides.
Granted, Kenya had planned a friendly against Ghana on June 1 but this never materialized. It is worth noting that the friendly was not planned but was dependent on Ghana setting up camp in Kenya ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Sudan.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) should perhaps have made arrangements to play at least one serious international build-up match to help coach Adel Amrouche build a squad that could take on the Super Eagles.
As Amrouche himself admitted before the match, it was difficult to identify a striker to take over from suspended Dennis Oliech and this showed when the team took on Nigeria.
NOT AT HIS BEST | Jamal Mohammed failed to deliver passes to strikers upfront
It was obvious that without Oliech, Stars cannot score a goal and without scoring, you cannot win.
Those who were picked to replace Oliech like Kepha Aswani left the pitch without as much as a shot on goal proof of just how bad things were at Kasarani.
Even when Ulinzi striker Stephen Waruru came in, he made no impact at the front and instead, contributed to Nigeria’s only goal when he lost the ball to Effe Ambrose allowing the Celtic defender to chip the ball to Musa Ahmed, who made no mistake and scored.
Kenya lacked someone who could terrorize the seemingly jet lagged Nigerians especially in front as goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama stayed for close to half an hour without touching the ball.
There is a desperate need to get a striker for Harambee Stars as relying on Oliech has once again proved costly.
It is unfortunate that the AC Ajaccio striker has been the country’s main striker for the last decade as no hit men are coming up. At this rate it will still be difficult to qualify for any serious competitions in the near future.
WAS AT FAULT FOR NIGERIA GOAL | Duncun Ochieng’ will blame himself for coming out too early leading to the goal
Kenyan goalkeeper Duncun Ochieng’ will blame himself for coming out too early leading to the goal by Nigeria. Looking back, it was easy to see that the Kenyan defenders had the danger well covered but Ochieng’s coming out meant he committed himself too early allowing Ahmed to sneak in and score.
For a goalkeeper of his experience it was a disappointing performance at home and casts doubts on his ability to stand in for injured number one custodian Arnold Origi.
On a positive note, however, the Kenyan defense revolving around Brian Mandela, David Owino, Mulinge Munandi and David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng’ gave their best shot in the entire match.
Perhaps the building process for the team can start with these young players.
By Otieno Otieno