- Michael Olunga scored twice in a 5-0 win
- The victory takes Kenya third in the group
- Ivory Coast beat Gambia in the other match
Kenya’s Harambee Stars put their 2026 World Cup dreams back on track after spanking Seychelles 5-0 in Ivory Coast. Skipper Michael Olunga scored a brace with Masud Juma adding the other while first national team goals from the Gor Mahia duo of Rooney Onyango and Benson Omalla added to the tally.
The victory took Kenya to third in the group, behind leaders Ivory Coast and Gabon who have won back to back matches. Ivory Coast beat Gambia 2-0 while Gabon beat Burundi 2-1.
Having lost to Gabon via a late goal in the first match last week, Stars had to rise up with a win over Seychelles who were thrashed for nine by Ivory Coast.
And they got straight into business with skipper Michael Olunga scoring a brace within the first six minutes.
He broke the deadlock in the third minute when he cut off a back pass, storming into the box and beating the keeper with a well taken left footed shot.
He doubled his tally two minutes later when he hit the back of the net on the second bite of the cherry. He picked up a lobbed ball from Dennis Ng’an’ga inside the box, his first shot being saved by the keeper, but he managed to pick the rebound and score with his weaker right foot.
Stars were totally dominant over Seychelles, playing the opening minutes in their own half Eric Johannah, making his first national team start in almost three years had a go at goal in the 16th minute when he struck from distance, but the keeper turned it behind for a corner.
Olunga selfish at times
Olunga had more chances to extend the score, but he was selfish at times, going for goal as he was under pressure to prove a point after blanking in the last five national team games.
In the 27th minute he ran behind the defense but could not beat the keeper one on one and minutes later decided to shoot when he had options to pass after being put through by Teddy AKumu.
In the 37th minute he was sent through on the left but he saw his shot saved, before the rebound inadvertently came off his foot for a goalkick. Onyango had a go at goal four minutes to the break when he picked out a cutback from Eric Ouma, but his shot went just wide.
Stars however went to the break 3-0 up, Juma scoring in consecutive matches after breaking into the box from a quickly taken throw in before lashing a powerful shot past the keeper.
In the second half, Stars continued the dominance and Onyango finally got his first ever national team goal in the 62nd minute when he lashed on a low shot inside the box from Abud Omar’s cross.
Coach Engin Firat then made changes to refresh the team, Ayub Timbe and Omalla coming on for Eric Johannah and Masud Juma.
Omalla then made his mark in the 73rd minute tapping into an empty net from close range after being put through by his Gor Mahia teammate Onyango.
Stars see off the game with a five-goal cushion
With a 5-0 cushion, Stars were all home and dry and they managed to see off the game, though with some more missed chances.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast moved top of the Group after beating Gambia 2-0 at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam. Christian Kouame and Seko Fofana scored a goal in either half for Les Elephants who moved to six points, while Gambia’s Scorpions suffered a second consecutive defeat.
After a closely contested opening minutes, Kouame scored the opener at the stroke of halftime, slamming the ball into the net after the Gambia keeper had made an initial save from another shot.
Gambia then came back in the second half with more vigour as they looked to claw back into the game, but they couldn’t get a goal back.
Their ambition was deflated in the 85th minute when Fofana scored the second goal with a thunderous left footed shot from almost 30 yards out.
With a 2-0 hill to climb, Gambia’s chase was slowed down, and they now have their work cut out ahead of the next round of qualification matches set for June next year.