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Harambee Stars settled for a sixth draw in their last 11 international friendly matches as a team composed of locally-based based only were held to a barren stalemate by an enterprising Malawi Tuesday afternoon.

Malawi had much of the ball but Kenya created the best chances with Samuel Onyango twice coming close while Cavin Odongo should have done better with a gift in the first half. Of the 22 players who made the matchday squad, Harambee Stars boss Stanley Okumbi utilized 17 with 5 departing for home without touching the ball.

Here is how we rated the 11 starters and the 5 substitutes.

Patrick Matasi - 7

The Posta Rangers man is strongly pushing to make the No. 1 spot, currently occupied by Gor Mahia's Boniface Oluoch, his own. This was a match where he showed that he is getting closer. Wasn't tested much but dealt with everything that came his way with relative ease, be it a dangerous aerial ball or a palm-stinging shot from outside his area. Was also vocal enough to keep his defence awake.

Bolton Omwenga - 6

The Kariobangi Sharks man made his national team debut with a role as a left back. Looked solid enough but gave the ball away a couple of times after the interval. Didn't bomb forward like Simon Mbugua in the opposite flank meaning that his flank wasn't as threatening, but safe.

Jockins Atudo - 6

The captain was just himself here. His modus operandi is always no-nonsense, it doesn't matter whether the opposition is Kalongolongo FC or the Brazilian national team. A lot of stuff that came his way were aerial balls which he dealt with perfectly and wasn't caught out on the ground either. With Robinson Kamura doing the pretty things, Atudo had to be the beast here. And he was.

Robinson Kamura - 6.5

Tell me a center half who carries the ball from the back as effectively as the AFC Leopards man. A polished performance as you would expect of a man who wore boots specifically designed for a wet surface that the Machakos Stadium was. Cool-headed and never put a foot wrong.

Simon Mbugua - 5.5

Kenya attacked Malawi a lot through the right flank during the opening half and it was right-back Mbugua who was the outlet, Kamura the man threading it down the wing. Of course it meant that his flank-mate Samuel Onyango had to cover the space left. A couple of successful take-ons and crosses would have made his work more worthwhile. Limped off with an injury after the break.

Duncan Otieno - 6.5

Coach Okumbi set up a two-man defensive midfield made up of Otieno and Victor Majid. After a slow start where Malawi ran rings in midfield, the duo dropped flair for grit and operated like a well-oiled clockwork. Otieno was efficient with the ball, barely gave it away and had energy in his reserve tank to keep doing it after the interval.

Victor Majid - 7

The Chemelil Sugar man was energetic, never pulled away from a tackle and did the dirty work in midfield, almost literally if the dirt on his clothes was anything to go by. He was more visible after the break as he covered every blade of grass to try break down the silky passing Malawi. Was unfortunate to pick an injury that saw him depart the action.

Darius Msagha - 4

The former Mwatate FC man, now at Bandari, was largely anonymous during the 35 minutes he was on the pitch. As aforementioned, Stars preferred to attack using the Mbugua-Onyango wing meaning little service was on the left channel. His premature substitution, apparently from an injury, contributes to his low marks.

Samuel Onyango - 7

Worked his socks off the Ulinzi Stars man who is increasingly becoming a cog in the national team set up. He popped everywhere, at fullback, wide and dropped in midfield to collect the ball. Had two chances to nick a goal, one flying just above the bar, the other missing the target by the breadth of a hint of his hair. Oh, and the soldier in him stood at attention during the national anthem - a great sight, trust me.

Kennedy Otieno - 6

A few people were surprised that he started, yours truly included. Not that the Western Stima man is a bad player but it was just surprising. What wasn't surprising though is that he fitted in. His raw power meant he didn't get disposesed easily and always wanted the ball. Encouraging. Another one who got substituted due to injury.

Cavin Odongo - 5.5

Wasted the best chance of the match when a back pass gone wrong landed straight at his feet. He seemed surprised by it but that's not a viable excuse for the way he dealt with the situation, sending the ball over with only one man and the keeper to beat, something he's so capable of. Talent is there but looked rusty throughout and lost possesion easily after the interval till his substitution. Perhaps another match barely 24 hours after helping Kariobangi Sharks beat Nakumatt was too much to ask. 

Subs

Daniel Mwaura 4.5

The Mathare United vice captain must have thanked his lucky stars when he was summoned to replace the injured Msagha during the opening half. It was a direct substitution as he occupied the left flank for the rest of the match. He did a lot of running but barely got past his marker.

Brian Birgen - 4.5

Another substitution which was induced by injury. Didn't get too many chances to make his customary forward forays.

Amos Asembeka - 4.5

Replaced the tiring Cavin Odongo. Had flashes of good play on is debut match.

Morven Otinya - 4

The highly-rated FC Palos striker replaced Samuel Onyango with quarter an hour to play. He was right there in the mix.

Chrispinus Onyango - 4

Kennedy Otieno's replacement occupied the left wing and twice got to the byline but decided to not cross.

Geoffrey Kataka - N/A

Late sub

 

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Stephen Waruru rescued a point as Ulinzi Stars came from behind to draw 1-1 with Western Stima in a Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match played at Ulinzi’s backyard in Nakuru on Wednesday 19 April.

Raymond Murugi capitalized on Ulinzi Star’s defensive lapse to put the visitors ahead in the 33rd minute of the game. The soldiers however gathered and responded two minutes later when Kenyan international Waruru rifled a hard shot that Stephen Odhiambo failed to gather, the winger was quickest to react, tapping home the rebound.

Meanwhile, the Camp Toyoyo in Jericho has been passed fit to host KPL matches from this weekend. With no other venue available in Nairobi, the venue has been chosen to host low risk fixtures with the Sofapaka vs Kakamega Homeboyz clash set to start the ‘risky business.’

The result puts Ulinzi 6th on 9 points with Stima four points adrift in 16th.

The Jericho facility has been used to host the National Super League (NSL) matches this season and taking KPL matches here will be interesting baring the fact that there are no stands for fans and the perimeter is weak to say the least.

The Nyayo Stadium and Kasarani Stadium have been closed for renovations as the country prepares to host the IAAF World Youth Athletics championships later this year and the 2018 CHAN football tournament.

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Top of the table Gor Mahia boss, Jose Marcelo 'Ze Maria' Ferreira has won the first coach of the month award for the new Kenyan Premier League campaign.

Ze Maria, the only boss to record two victories during the month, was awarded Tuesday morning by Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) and award sponsors Fidelity Insurance. It is the Brazilian's second coach of the month award after winning the same last year October.

He beat Bandari FC's Paul Nkata and Posta Rangers' Sammy 'Pamzo' Omollo who both recorded a win and a draw during the same month. Posta, the only other unbeaten team in the league besides Ulinzi Stars, are placed second on the log, a point adrift of Gor Mahia while Bandari are third.

Coming with the award is a trophy engraved with his name and a fatter cheque of Kshs. 75,000, an improvement from the Kshs. 50,000 that was awarded last year.

Ze Maria's twin wins came against promoted sides Kariobangi Sharks who they beat 3-1 before following that up with a 1-0 victory of Zoo Kericho.

The month of April hasn't been any worse with victories over Kakamega Homeboyz and Sony Sugar putting his team atop the log despite a 2-1 defeat at Western Stima. They host reigning champions Tusker FC this Saturday at the Afraha Stadium.

The Brewers completed an uprecedented league double over Kogalo last season but the latter won their latest meeting in the season-opening Super Cup.

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Administration Police, Vihiga United,Police FC and Nakuru AllStars all picked maximum points in midweek National Super League played across the country. 

Police perhaps had the easiest picks of the day after they got a walkover over MOSCA, a win that enabled them end a four-game winless run.

In the midmorning fixture played at the Camp Toyoyo, Vihiga United convincingly beat Kibera Blackstars 3-0 to go top of the National Super League a point ahead of Wazito FC. Skipper Patrick Okulo scored a goal in each half with a stunning volley from Rashid Kyambade putting the icing on the cake in the lively encounter that was watched by Vihiga County governor Moses Akaranga.  The first goal came in the 40th minute of the game when Okulo headed home a rebound after the Kibera Blackstars Paul Ochieng failed to deal with Martin Imbalambala’s freekick, parrying it onto Okulo’s path.

 He then finished off a fine Vihiga move on the hour mark to extend the lead before Kyambade hammered off a volley 30 into his introduction to seal the points. In Nakuru, hosts Nakuru AllStars thumped Bidco United 6-1 to move to third on the log. Peter Ng'anga scored four goals in between Peter Amani and Anthony Ng'ang'as goals. In Eldoret, Administration Police moved to 14 points with a 1-0 win over GFE 105 FC. 

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AFC Leopards forward Mungai Kiongera resumes light training on Tuesday after two weeks out with a swollen knee.

Kiongera suffered the injury in their 2-1 win over Nzoia Sugar on 1st of April and hasn’t featured for the team since. The injury made him drop out of the Harambee Stars squad that drew 0-0 with the Malawi Flames on Tuesday afternoon in Machakos.

During Kiongera’s absence, Leopards drew 0-0 against Ulinzi Stars then lost to Chemelil Sugar, a result that left a bitter taste to the Ingwe faithful who were enjoying the team’s fine run in form. They however bounced back on Sunday to beat Muhoroni Youth 1-0 in Mombasa.

With the derby match against Gor Mahia in the horizon, Kiongera will be hoping that he passes all fitness tests in time to face his former employer.

The Kenyan international who is known for his wheezy runs and powerful shots has been hindered with injuries and this has slightly halted his progress in the Den.

The lanky forward’s injury history is not pleasing for he has barely played a half a season without sitting out. In 2015, he missed the whole season while at Simba Sports Club due to a nasty knee injury suffered in a Tanzanian Premier League match. 

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