Harambee Stars on brink of exit

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Shemeles Bekele’s two cracking first half goals left Harambee Stars reeling as they lost their second back-to-back group C match of the 2010 Challenge Cup championship to Ethiopia at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, yesterday.

Kenya’s substitute striker Fred Ajwang’s late header (85thminute) counted as a consolation for the Jacob Mulee’s trained side which is on the brink of elimination.

Playing without their first choice goalkeeper Wilson Obungo and some of their talented players, Kenya paid heavy price in yesterday’s match as they bank on complex mathematical permutations to win a quarterfinal progression.

Obungo was offloaded in Harambee Stars starting line-up yesterday after conceding three goals in their opening match against explosive Malawi to lose Mulee’s confidence.

The Kenyan defence was crumbling like the cookies as fast moving and well drilled Ethiopians with intricate passes were in full control of the entire first half.

Bekele or popularly known as Godo was a thorn in the Harambee Stars defence as he scored the opener after 25 minutes. He increased the tally with spectacular dribbling past Kenya’s custodian Boniface Oluoch two minutes to half time.

Mulee whose side came from two goals down in the opener against Malawi last Monday, made some technical changes that eventually paid off to transform the game in the last half an hour.

Harambee Stars had all the quality and flair to pull an equaliser after Ajwang’s goal five minutes to time, but profligacy prevailed as Ethiopians scrapped through with the three points.

Hard fighting Bob Mugalia would rue missed opportunities deep into stoppage time as his header went off target with goalkeeper to beat as Ethiopians were left off the hook to chalk the crucial victory.

Kenya have no option except to beat Uganda in their final group match on Sunday evening at the same venue.

In an earlier game, holders Uganda the Cranes were held to 1-1 draw by Malawi as Emmanue Okwi’s 78th minute goal brought the Musevebni boys into the game.

Okwi cancelled off Victor Nyirenda’s first half goal that shocked the eleven times record winners as they huffed for the much needed equaliser in the second half.

The tournament continues today with Zanzibar playing Rwanda as Somalia meet Zambia.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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