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Harambee dimmed by Taifa in battle of Stars

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MWANZA, Tanzania, November 14- Harambee Stars return home on Thursday with defeat echoing through their ears after neighbours and rivals Tanzania upset them 1-0 in a FIFA international friendly in the lake side town of Mwanza.

With claims that the hosts flouted the world governing body rules by appointing a home referee from the match, Henri Michel’s side that went to the fixture as the favourites had no one to blame apart from their inability to turn mammoth possession to goals.

Azam FC defender, Aggrey Morris towered over the Kenyan defence to net the winner with only seven minutes on the clock at the CCM Kirumba Stadium to hand Frenchman Michel his second defeat on the trot.

On the opposite dugout, Dane Kim Poulsen enjoyed his first victory in charge of the hosts as his side braved a second half onslaught to hold on to their early lead in the end.

Of concern to Michel who lost to South Africa 2-1 is the match will count towards FIFA World ranking and defeat narrowed the chances of Kenya moving up from their current lowly position of 130.

“They have been in camp for just a few days, but they played as a team. I am very happy with the way they played today,” the Dane told Citizen News after the match at the same stadium the Kenyans won 2-1 in 2009 the last time they clashed prior to Wednesday.

The host attacked from the onset stretching Michel’s side and they were rewarded when their star midfielder Mrisho Ngassa whipped in a cross off the right that was met to devastating effect by Morris.

That stung the visitors to action led by their skipper and AJ Auxerre striker Denis Oliech but Tanzania’s rearguard of Shomari Kapombe, Amir Maftah and Kelvin Yondani held fort.

TP Mazembe striking duo Mbwana Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu on the other hand were pressing Michel’s side as the hosts enjoyed the better of the first half.

The Frenchman who has taken Morocco, Tunisia and Ivory Coast to the World Cup introduced Ayub Timbe, Christopher Wekesa and Teddy Akumu in the second period for Patrick Oboya, James Situma and Jerry Santos as he sought to charge for the equaliser.

Stars lifted off their slumber and dominated the second period but wasteful finishing left Michel a disappointed man and Kenya staring at the abyss.

Celtic FC star Victor Wanyama and first choice keeper, Arnold Origi did not make the Mwanza trip but the chronic problem of finishing yet again cost them despite being the more fancied side.

Michel has the task of lifting his side for the Africa Home Nations Championships (CHAN) and the regional CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.

Michel is not keen on the latter competition that starts next weekend with his focus gazed on the CHAN qualifier against Burundi and after losing to a team ranked lower than his side, time is running out for the much heralded tactician.

SQUADS

Taifa Stars: Juma Kaseja, Shomari Kapombe, Amir Maftah, Kelvin Yondani, Aggrey Morris,Frank Domayo, Abubakari Salum, Mwinyi Kazimoto, Thomas Ulimwengu, Mbwana Samatta and Mrisho Ngassa.

Harambee Stars: Frederick Onyango, Brian Mandela, Eugene Asike, James Situma, Edwin Wafula, Jerry Santos, Jerry Opiyo, Patrick Oboya, Patrick Osaika, Denis Oliech and Wesley Kemboi

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