Kenya’s first match at the AFCON stage in 15 years ended in demoralizing fashion as the team suffered a 2-0 loss to Algeria on Monday 24 June at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo Egypt.
The Dessert Foxes only needed the first half to dim Harambee Stars with Baghdad Bounedjah and captain Riyad Mahrez striking in the final 11 minutes of the opening stanza, taking advantage of Kenya’s disjointed performance.
Qatari based Bounedjah coolly converted a 34th minute penalty after young fullback Youcef Atal had shown impeccable skill to weave his way inside Kenya’s defence before he was brought down by Dennis Odhiambo.
The goal would spur on the North Africans who doubled their lead nine minutes later through Mahrez’s low struck shot from outside the area that deflected off Aboud Omar.
A more resolute second half would see Kenya contain their opponents but the damage had already been done.
None of Kenya 23-man squad has ever been at this stage and it showed from the opening whistle as the players struggled to string up passes, gave the ball away in dangerous places and committed poor fouls with Aboud and Philemon Otieno picking up early bookings.
Perhaps the more telling of the team’s inexperience was in attack with Sebastien Migne’s men only attempting four shots at goal with none being on target.
Algeria’s win sends them to joint top in Group C, tied at 3 points each with Senegal who defeated Tanzania 2-0 on Sunday.
Stars next faceoff against CECAFA rivals Tanzania on Thursday 27 at the same venue with both teams knowing that a loss for them would mean their exit at the group stages.
Senegal and Algeria will also lock horns on Thursday looking to claim leadership of the group outright.