Kenya national team, Harambee Stars claimed perhaps their biggest upset in recent memory after giving favorites DR Congo a humiliating 1-0 home defeat in an international friendly battled out at the Stade Des Martyrs de la Pentecôte in Lingwala, Kinshasa Tuesday (Oct. 4) evening.
Michael Olunga scored the decisive goal in the 65th minute against the run of play to give Stanley Okumbi the biggest win in his short CV as the head coach of the national team.
After a barren first half which the hosts bossed, the visitors stunned the home crowd five minutes into the hour mark. Substitute Paul Were, replacing Rama Salim in the 63rd minute, got the beating of his marker down the left wing with some witty step-overs.
The winger's intended cross somehow swerved and the ball hit the post. Olunga who had been waiting for the cross must have counted his lucky stars when the ball fell on his path and he guided it home to give Kenya a shock lead.
Boniface Oluoch put a fine shift in goal to thwart the Congolese forward line which was led by Everton winger Yannick Bolasie. Frimin Mobele came closest to hitting the equalizer for the Leopards but his freekick hit the bar while Bolasie spunned a huge opportunity inside the box, skying a volley.
DRC dominated the proceedings from the onset but could not go past the experienced backline marshalled by the day's captain David Owino. Congo had their first eye on target in the 6th minute when Paul Jose Mpoku beat Aboud Omar on the left flank, crossing it to Jonathan Bolingi who shot straight at Oluoch.
It was a midfield battle between Ismael Gonzalez and Vital Nsimba and the latter easily won the proceedings early on in the match, forcing the visitors to commit many unnecessary fouls. The first real chance for Kenya came in the 24th minute when Jesse Were found his striking partner Olunga but the latter's feeble shot was well gathered by the new DRC number one Joel Kiasumbua.
Despite the hosts knitting short and crisp passes in the first half, nothing could separate the two teams as they headed into halftime on even terms.
Congo ran rings around the Kenyan back line during the early embers of the second half. Aboud Omar was especially exposed down the left where Bolasie and Jonathan Bolingi enjoyed having a go at the former Tusker FC man, the latter even dishing out a morale-sapping nutmeg.
Congo should have put the game to bed early but they seemed overconfident as they missed one opportunity after another. Kenya sat back deep, very deep, and chased shadows as the Leopards feasted on the acres of space given to them, Jordan Botaka especially proving a constant nuisance down the right channel.
Harambee seemed ready to use their pace to penetrate on the counter. They curved out a rare forward foray but Joackins Atudo over hit his cross while Eric Johanna had Olunga up in arms after under-cooking a pass as the Djurgarden forward prepared to lurch onto the ball and take aim.
The warning signs were aplenty but Congo, for reasons best known to them, refused to take note. That was to be at their detriment as Paul Were, replacing Rama Salim just two minutes earlier, showed his class and Olunga's predatory instinct did the rest.
As the Kenyan players rushed towards the corner flag to celebrate, their Congolese counterparts trudged towards the center circle to restart the proceedings. Their man in charge of handling statistics must have come across the fact that Stars knew anything but keeping their lead while on the road.
And so the hosts, predictably, controlled the remaining 25 minutes but with Kenya boss Okumbi having five defenders on the pitch (David Ochieng replacing Ismael Gonzalez) Stars for once held on to a lead as they collected a famous win.
It is the first time Stars have gotten a result against the Congolese who had won all the 4 previous fixtures since they shaded the Zaire name. The most recent meetings were in the 2011 Nile Basin Tournament which Congo identically won 1-0, both home and away.
The result will be more than welcome in Kenya's camp at least as far as Fifa rankings is concerned while you can't understate the impact such a result can have on the players and the technical bench. For Congo, it's the worst way they can prepare for Saturday's World Cup Qualifier against Libya but you might want to believe they have learnt a lesson.
Stars are now unbeaten in 6 matches and we are not talking small.opposition here. We are talking against Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the two Congos!
Congratulations boys... Onwards and upwards!
Congo DR Starting XI: 16. Kiassumbua Joel, 14. Zakuani Gabriel, 4. Dualembo Christopher, 22. Chancel Mbemba, 6. Nsimba Vital, 20. Maghoma Jacques, 15. Youssef Mulumbu, 8. Mpoku Jose, 7. Jordan Botaka, Mubele Firmin, 9. Jonathan Bolingi
Kenya Starting XI: Boniface Oluoch (GK), Joackins Atudo, Brian Mandela, David Owino (c), Aboud Omar, Ismael Gonzalez, Anthony Akumu, Rama Salim, Eric Johanna, Jesse Were, Michael Olunga
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In The Spotlight
Thika United is the latest side to withdraw from the GoTV Shield which kicks off this weekend across the country.
Sports betting firm Sportpesa has announced they will withdraw all sponsorship to local clubs and federations effective January 1, 2018, owing to the Finance Bill, a move that is set to cause ripples in the local sports industry.
Crystal Palace are set to appointing former Swansea boss Frank de Boer as manager. The former Netherlands international, 47, has been offered the job and negotiations are at an advanced stage.
Kasarani Sub branch's Nairobi Governor Cup Champions Terror Squad and Makadara Champions Makongeni Youth have made it to the semifinals of the Nairobi Governors Cup County Championships Nairobi East Zone. Also through are Kamkunjis best Jijazie FC and Babadogo's Korogocho Youth
Terror Squad played out a 1-1 draw with Korogocho Youth at the Kariobangi North Primary School, a result that was enough for both teams to qualify. Army man Enock Mogire was on target for Terror Squad while Korogocho’s goal was netted by America Jawa
At the City Stadium, Makongeni Youth confirmed their place in the last four with a 2-1 win over a dominant Reuben United. Goals from Kennedy Otieno and Godrick Juma did the job for Makongeni, with Adams Usama’s equalizer at the stroke of halftime for Reuben United ending up as a mere consolation
Jijazie had earlier on thumped Kinsan FC 3-0. Morvo Papalai, James Okello and Vincent Nasa were on target for Jijazie
Kamkunji's Golden Angels were winners in the girls’ category, brushing aside Soweto Queens 5-0. Grace Achieng, Sheila Rono, Catherine Achieng, Evelyn Juma and Jess Wangari were on the score sheet for the victorious. The match between Mukuru Talents and Nairobi County Queens FC ended in a 0-0 stalemate
At Kariobangi North Primary School, Kariobangi Sports Ladies managed a 2-0 win over Star-started Kayole Starlets JNR. Diana Wacera and Mercy Achieng were on target for the victors, who consequently qualify for the quarterfinals. Girls Unlimited edged out Street revolution 2-0 in the other match played at the same venue
Terror Squad a.k.a The Red Eagles will face Makongeni Youth in the first semifinal of the Nairobi East Zone, while Jijazie FC will be up against Korogocho Youth in the other semifinal
The winner from the Nairobi East Zone will face her Nairobi West branch counterparts in the grand finale, whose winner will pocket kshs 1.5 Million, with the losing finalist taking home kshs 1 Million.
The losing finalists from both zones will square it out in a third-place play-off which has a kshs 500,000 token at stake
The top scorer, best goalkeeper and Most Valuable Player will each take home kshs 250,000 each.
Nairobi East Zone Results
Jijazie FC 3-0 Kinsan FC
Makongeni Youth FC 2-1 Reuben United FC
Kariobangi Sports FC 2-0 Githurai United
Terror Squad FC 1-1 Korogocho Youth
Kariobangi Sports Ladies 2-0 Kayole Starlets
Girls Unlimited 2-0 Street revolution
Golden Angels 5-0 Soweto Queens
Mukuru Talents 0-0 Nairobi County
After weeks of negotiations, AFC Leopards have completed the signing of midfielder Victor Majid from Chemelil Sugar.
The Kenyan international emerged as a prime transfer target for Ingwe recently, and having been in talks with the 12 time Kenyan champions side since the beginning of the transfer window a deal has now been struck.
Chemelil had initially wanted Ksh 500,000 for the 25-year-old, but it seems that a compromise has been agreed.
It turns out they were very advanced, and the player is now due to travel to Nairobi to finalize the deal.
Majid, known for his hard tackling and precise passing will be Ingwe’s fourth capture this transfer window after they signed Keziron Kizito, Alexis Kitenge and Mussa Mudde last week.
Kitenge’s signing is still up in the wind after it emerged that he still has a deal with Altetico Football club. The two sides are still locked up in negotiations. The club is also keen to resigning former point man Kepha Aswani from Nakumatt, just six months after ditching the club for Nakumatt FC. Fourfourtwomedia can confirm that talks have already taken place and a deal will be announced any time this week. Leopards who are eyeing a top 8 finish in the league are also eyeing a loan move for Tusker foward Michael Khamati. It is believed that incoming coach Tom Juma wants to reunite with Khamati, whom he worked with at National Super League side (NSL) Administration Police FC.
Meanwhile Ingwe have confirmed that striker Mungai Kiongera will leave the club after talks of renewing his contract stalled. Captain Bernard Mang’oli is meanwhile talking to the club to have his contract extended.
After seeing their seven match unbeaten run come to an abrupt end on Saturday at the Police Band grounds, South B, thanks to a shock 3-2 loss to minnows Zion Fc, AFC Leopards Youth came into the Sunday evening clash against Kibera’s Alswafa at the Woodley grounds needing all three points to rekindle their dented run.
And the Boniface Ambani led boys did just that, storming to a 4-1 half time lead. The Cubs coach Boniface Ambani rung several changes to his squad that had lost to Zion Fc, with John Karissa replacing Mungai Majani in goal. Francis Maina came into the right back position in the absence of the injured captain Stephano Tololwa, in the heart of midfield saw Dempsey replace Wafula Wekesa, and on the left flank Maxwel Fundi filled in for the ill-missing left footed winger, Kevin Otieno.
Leopards started the match on a high pegging the home side, Alswafa in their half and it didn’t take long before Valdo Madegwa connected well with Austin Ochieng to give Leopards the lead. Soon after the first goal, the ever industrious Valencia added Leopards second goal after going past Alswafa’s backline. Minutses latter, Austin Ochieng once again proved he is a dead ball specialist with a well taken free kick which left the Alswafa goal keeper well beaten for Cubs third goal.
Austin, would again turn provider minutes later as his pinpoint cross was nodded in by the Zoo Kericho bound central defender Hillary Minishi. The match seem at this point destined for a 0-4 halftime break but the cubs defence failed to deal with a cross from the right which eventually found its way to an unmarked Alswafa striker for a easy tap in to an empty net.
The second half saw both sides try to get a goal but both defenses stood their ground as the match ended for the cubs. The win means that Afc Leopards youth top the table with 22 points, seven wins a draw and a loss.