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South Sudan stun Kenya’s Harambee Stars in Kasarani friendly match

South Sudan's Tito Okello tries to go past Kenya's Teddy Akumu and Daniel Anyembe
South Sudan's Tito Okello tries to go past Kenya's Teddy Akumu and Daniel Anyembe
  • Kenya Police FC striker Tito Okello scored the winning goal
  • Stars were guilty of several lost chances
  • This was the last of two international friendly matches for Stars

National football team Harambee Stars suffered a 1-0 defeat to South Sudan in an international friendly match at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani. Tito Okello, who plays his club football in Kenya, scored the lone winning goal in the second minute of the match.

South Sudan head coach Stefano Cusin was delighted with the victory and the performance of the team.

“Of course beating a team like Kenya who are ranked almost 60 places above us in the FIFA rankings is something great. We had a strategy and when we watched the game against Qatar we knew they were dangerous on the sides and we prepared to take care of that,” the Italian tactician said after the game.

He added; “But credit to Kenya it is a very difficult team and we were lucky to win.”

Meanwhile, his opposite number Engin Firat said there was plenty to learn from his charges and said the defeat was not catastrophic.

“I said to the boys after the match that it is better for us to lose and learn from this friendly than in an important qualifier match. Maybe God wanted us to lose so that we do not feel we are there and we continue to work,” Firat said after the game.

Poor start to the game by Stars

Action between Kenya and South Sudan

Action between Kenya and South Sudan

Stars had a poor start to the game and found themselves trailing as early as the second minute from a defensive blunder. Defender Joseph Okumu, who scored in last Thursday’s win over Qatar, attempted a short backpass to keeper Bryne Omondi, and the ball was intercepted by Okello who planted it into the back of the net.

Another mistake at the back in the 16th minute almost cost the team a second goal, when keeper Omondi’s attempted distribution to Masud Juma was intercepted by Peter Chol. However, the latter’s shot at goal was heroically blocked on the line by Teddy Akumu.

Stars gradually grew into the game, and started building confidence, with Richard Odada and Akumu running things in midfield.

In the 23rd minute they should have hit the leveler when off a well-executed move, Elvis Rupia broke away on the right before cutting a low cross into the area. Kenneth Muguna met the ball and struck a belter of a shot from inside the box but the South Sudanese keeper made a brilliant save for a corner.

Stars kept piling the pressure in search for an equalizer, but the defense led by skipper Peter Maker guarded their rare with absolute care.

Stars make changes in the second half 

Harambee Stars midfielder Kenneth Muguna in action against South Sudan's rashid Toha

Harambee Stars midfielder Kenneth Muguna in action against South Sudan’s rashid Toha

In the second half, Stars had to make changes with Rupia coming off injured and was replaced by Qatar game’s last minute hero Amos Nondi, while Masud Juma, also limping from a first half tackle was also replaced by Clarke Oduor while Duke Abuya came in for Muguna.

In the 65th minute, Olunga should have surely struck Stars ahead when he was picked out by a brilliant outer foot pass from Odada, but the skipper couldn’t beat the keeper one on one as he rushed quick off his line to close down the skipper, who couldn’t skip past him.

Stars made more changes with Kakamega Homeboyz striker Moses Shummah and midfielder Timothy Ouma coming on.

Two substitutes almost combined for a goal when Abuya made a good run down the right and slashed in a low cross, but Shummah was a few seconds late at the near post, the keeper beating him to the ball.

Stars piled in some late pressure, but couldn’t get back with at least a draw.

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