NAIROBI, Kenya, December 2 – Harambee Stars registered their first win of the Orange Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup with a 2-0 victory over Djibouti on Wednesday at Nyayo National Stadium.George Odhiambo and a penalty from Allan Wanga was all it took for Stars to put themselves back in contention for a quarter final place.
The match will however be remembered for the build up to the controversial first goal when Stars failed to kick the ball out when a Djiboutain player lay on the turf injured much to the chagrin of their coach Gosheri Ahmed.
“Today we didn’t play against Kenya, we played against the referee,” said Ahmed who saw his team lost their second match in a row.
“I think he was very unfair to us but Kenya were the better team on the day and they deserved to win,” he added.
Stars interim coach Twahir Muhiddin also had some choice words for the Rwandan referee Issa Kagabo.
“We knew it would be a tough match but the situation changed because as the match went on the ref started became influenced by the other team (Djibouti),” said Muhiddin.
“As for my team, some of them played as individuals and did not take advantage of their team mates who were open,” he added.
Muhiddin’s decision to start with Odhiambo alongside Wanga proved to be an inspired decision as the Gor Mahia striker made a nuisance of himself whenever he touched the ball.
It did not take long for him to fire the first salvo of the match when he connected with an inviting Patrick Oboya cross in the fifth minute but his header went just wide.
A quarter of an hour into the match, Oboya picked up where he left off against Zambia with a typical bullish run into the Djibouti area only for his shot to be blocked by the Djibouti defence.
Lawrence Owino almost wrote himself into the score sheet five minutes later when he gathered from a corner but his strike went over the cross bar.
Kenya went on another blistering attack soon after that resulted into the controversial goal.
Djibouti defender Moussa Warsama went down injured after blocking a vicious shot from Peter Opiyo but the hosts played on for another 30 seconds leading up to Odhiambo’s goal.
The match was stopped for five minutes when the Ahmed stormed the pitch to complain to the referee but ended up being banished to the stands.
Stars continued to monopolise possession and continued to pile pressure on their opponents which eventually paid off at the stroke of half time when Wanga was fouled in the area and duly scored.
In the earlier match at the same venue, Zambia beat Ethiopia 1-0 with a James Chamanga goal while in Mumias Uganda beat Rwanda 2-0