Kenya’s chances of qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations hangs in the balance after they surprisingly lost 1-0 away to Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday, March 23.
An extremely avoidable 18th minute strike from Idrissa Camara was enough to give the Djurtus their first win in Group E that moved them to four points, just one behind the two other group members, Zambia and Congo who are on five points. Kenya are bottom with only one point from three games.
Head coach Stanley Okumbi handed debut to youngster Patillah Omotto while also deciding to reorganize the defence by playing natural center-backs as fullbacks, a decision that perhaps played a part in the defeat.
Here’s how we rated the players:
Arnold Origi – 5
The Lillestrom keeper made his return to the starting XI after missing the last four matches and had a field day between the posts. He was barely tested and could do nothing to stop Camara’s world class header.
Musa Mohammed – 4
The Gor Mahia defender’s nightmarish show as a Harambee Stars international continued as he was solely culpable for Camara’s goal. Musa had all the time in the world to make up his mind when a hopeless ball was punted in the box but he made the wrong choice by attacking an aerial ball with his legs when using his head would have sufficed. His evening wasn’t made any better by the fact that he was played out of his position and it wasn’t surprising that he got booked and was lucky to finish the match.
James Situma – 5
The Tusker FC captain earned his 40th cap for Stars but he won’t have any good memories of it. He is a versatile player alright but it’s at the heart of the defence that he always seems more comfortable. He did OK as an auxiliary left-back but offered no width at all.
David ‘Calabar’ Owino – 6.5
The sight of Calabar bursting forward from the heart of the defence is always refreshing and he made that customary run at some point in the second half but his shot lacked venom. He didn’t put a foot wrong in this match and was one of the very few players who should feel like they didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.
Brian Mandela – 6
The Maritzburg United defender was busy the whole evening and had a faultless show alongside Calabar. He used his gangly figure to great effect and was the only man in the back four not to leave with a yellow card.
Victor Wanyama – 5
The captain arrived in Bissau with just over eight hours before kickoff and he looked a bit fatigued especially in the opening half. He seemed to perform much better with Teddy Akumu alongside him than with rookie Patillah Omotto. He was a bit more bossy after the interval but contributed to a high number of diagonal passes which didn’t aid the transition from midfield to attack.
Patillah Omotto – 4.5
The youngster was thrown right into the mix on his first cap and he did OK. Pressure was always going to be on his back after his inclusion in the team and in the starting XI drew a lot of criticism. This was his chance to justify his selection but he didn’t take it, his replacement Akumu showing why the youngster should be behind in the pecking order.
Eric Johanna – 6
The Mathare United forward took well over two minutes to get his first touch in the game but things started happening thereafter. He occasionally burst forward and delivered two teasing balls, one which should have been buried by Clifton Miheso. The reigning Kenyan Premier League midfielder of the year faded as the game wore on leading to his substitution early in the second half.
Clifton Miheso – 4.5
Perhaps his worst show in Harambee Stars colours. The AFC Leopards winger was strangely reluctant to take on the opposition fullbacks despite the fact that he has the pace and skill to do so. No meaningful crosses and it was not surprising when he was subbed for Ovella Ochieng’.
Johanna Omollo – 5
Another player who didn’t turn up for the match. He played the No. 10 role behind lone strike Michael Olunga but didn’t offer any telling contribution.
Michael Olunga – 6
The former Gor Mahia man played his first match since leaving for Swedish side IF Djurgarden. A lone striker, Olunga did the pressing upfront but looked isolated most of the time. The introduction of Jesse Were saw Olunga strangely shunted to the left side of attack, a move that benefited neither the player nor the team.
Antony Akumu – 6
His introduction saw Kenya take hold of the midfield and also allowed Wanyama a bit of freedom to thread balls forward. That he started from the bench was inexplicable but he made a strong case for a starting role in the return leg.
Jesse Were – 5
The Zesco United forward started from the bench and was introduced five minutes after the interval. He looked desperate to show his worth and skied a half volley over. He needs to start games.
Ovella Ochieng’ – 5
The Kairobangi Sharks man replaced the underwhelming Miheso and looked pumped up for the show. A fine debut.
Coach Stanley Okumbi – 3.5
Anything and everything that could go wrong went wrong, the traveling squad, his starting XI, tactics and result.
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