NAIROBI, Kenya, November 28 – Harambee Stars Orange Orange Council of East Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup got off to the worst possible start after they lost to Zambia 2-0 on Saturday. James Chamanga got both goals for the Chipolopolo who for the most part of the match were denied time and time again by the impenetrable Stars defence.
“It was just lapses in concentration by the defence that cost us,” said Stars stand in coach Twahir Muhiddin after the match.
“We are all disappointed with the performance. The players were in the game in flashes and our weaknesses were exposed,” he added.
The result was a hammer blow for the home side who were eliminated from the FIFA World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and are left with having to pick themselves up for the now must win match against Djibouti on Wednesday.
The hosts almost paid for their rearguard frailties as early as the fifth minute when keeper Willis Ochieng was caught out of position after going to gather a loose ball that was cleared by George Owino off the line.
What followed was a period of dominance by the Stars especially in the midfield where key operators Patrick Oboya and Lawrence Owino shone in abundance.
The striking duo of Allan Wanga and Francis Ouma gave the visitors defence something to think about with some dangerous runs into the box but Zambian keeper Jacob Banda cleaned up when called upon.
Wanga came close to putting Kenya ahead in the 23rd minute but his long range strike just shaved the left upright.
The former Petro Atletico ace almost made the Zambian defence rue their failure for failing to pick him up but was denied by Banda who saved his thunderous shot.
Oboya set the stadium alight with a mazy run from halfway that carved open the opposing defence only for his shot to go wide.
The closing stages of the first half saw Zambia lay siege on Stars goal as the likes ofn the towering Felix Sunzu and Chamanga giving Kenya something to worry about.
Stars made several changes in the second period as Peter Opiyo, John Barasa and George Odhiambo coming in for Lawrence Owino, Ouma and Oboya respectively.
Odhiambo almost became the impact player with some sublime touches on the goal but his moment seemed to arrive when he was put through by a sublime pass from Barasa that left him one on one with Banda who denied him with a superb block.
Zambia’s Jimmy Chisenga had a filed day down the near touchline with some darting runs and it was him who set up Chamanga with the telling cross that put the visitors 1-0 up.
The Chipolopolo were content with that scoreline as they continued to press the Stars goal.
Chamanga scores from the corner to send the traveling Zambian support into ecstacy and the home fans filing for the exits.