Kenya were held to a 1-1 draw at the MISC Kasarani by regional rivals Uganda in a friendly fixture played Saturday 8 September.
An entertaining affair saw Emmanuel Okwi net in the first half and Kenneth Muguna provide a response in the second as both teams begun their preparations for the 2021 AFCON Qualifiers which are due in two months’ time.
In the first game for both nations after the AFCON tournament held earlier in the year in Egypt, both teams’ coaches, who were both appointed after the continental tourney, experimented with their sides with Francis Kimanzi in particular giving debuts to Samuel Olwande, Lawrence Juma and Collins Agade from the onset with a few other players earning their caps with second half appearances.
This a little bit slowed down Kenya as it is Uganda who settled quickly in the game and dominated the opening stanza, creating a plethora of chances throughout the half.
The visitor’s attacking triumvirate of captain Emmanuel Okwi, Allan Kyambadde and Lwanga Kizito had Kenya on the ropes and could have scored more than the one they managed in the half.
On one instance Kyambadde struck the upright after a sweet passing move between him and Okwi. And in just a few minutes earlier Okwi had forced Patrick Matasi into a stretching save after curling a shot from the edge of the area.
Uganda’s forays upfront would come good though in the 22nd minute as they took the lead through Okwi who produced a moment of skill, showing quick feet and composure to beat Joash Onyango in the box and slot past Matasi with ease after being found in space by Kizito.
Kenya’s real chance of the half would come after the half hour mark through Eric Johanna who stung keeper Charles Lukwago’s palms with a shot from his weaker left foot after Ayub Timbe, Kenya’s best player on the pitch had delivered a trade mark run from deep.
As the half wore on, Kimanzi would make a tactical substitution, withdrawing Agade for Whyvonne Isuza and during the break, Michael Kibwage would make way for Johnstone Omurwa.
The second half would see a more determined Harambee Stars team that quickly pulled themselves level after just five minutes of the restart through Muguna, who was largely inconspicuous in the first 45 minutes.
A darting run from the left from Eric Ouma saw the leftback feed the ball to Timbe who coolly slotted the ball into the path of Muguna, for the Gor Mahia man to toe poke the ball past a rooted Lukwago.
More clear-cut chances after that would fall to Kenya, one of which saw Michael Olunga denied by the post in the dying minutes of the game as both teams settled for the draw for the 24th time.
Below is how both teams lined-up;
Starting XI: 18. Patrick Matasi (GK), 17. Samuel Olwande, 3. Eric Ouma, 12. Mike Kibwage, 4. Joash Onyango, 13. Collins Agade, 6. Lawrence Juma, 15 Kenneth Muguna, 7. Ayub Timbe, 10. Eric Johanna, 14. Michael Olunga
Subs: 1. Faruk Shikalo (GK), 5. Johnstone Omurwa, 11. Brian Otieno, 19. Cliffton Miheso, 16. Francis Kahata, 21. Duke Abuya, 8. Whyvonne Isuza, 20. Cliff Nyakeya, 22. Boniface Muchiri, 9. Enosh Ochieng
Starting XI: 18. Charles Lukwago (GK), 15. Willa Paul, 12. Mustafa Kizza, 17. Revita John, 3. Timothy Awany, 8, Khalid Aucho, 6. Taddeo Lwanga, 20. Allan Okello, 10. Luwagga Kizito, 7. Emmanuel Okwi, 2. Allan Kyambadde
Subs: 19. Joel Mutakubwa (GK), 4. Mujuzi Mustafa, 16. Halid Lwaliwa, 5. Muzamir Mutyaba, 14. Bright Anukani, 9. Fahad Aziz Bayo, 11. Allan Kayiwa