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Hastily assembled Stars dimmed in Senegal

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NAIROBI, Kenya, January 16- The hastily assembled Harambee Stars Under-23 side went down 1-0 to 2012 Africa Cup of Nations co-favourites Senegal in Dakar.

Bundesliga SC Freiburg striker Pappis Demba Cisse 63rd minute goal made all the difference in the match played at the Léopold Sédar Senghor Stadium.

Football Kenya Limited (FKF) had appointed former Karuturi Sports coach, James Nandwa to be in charge of the second string side that featured in Senegal.

This is after the senior side tactician, Francis Kimanzi, declined to honour the match declaring his side would not be ready and the fact that it fell outside the Fifa calendar.

Nandwa and the team trained for only an hour before their departure to Senegal.

The hurriedly organised friendly and prior FKF denials that the match would go on prompted the federation’s publicity officer, Robin Toskin, a sports editor, convergence at The Standard Group to relinquish his post on Saturday.

Meanwhile, another Africa Cup of Nations title co-favourites Ghana were held 1-1 by a third-string South Africa side Sunday in a warm-up match.

Midfielders scored both goals at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in this North West platinum town with Thami Sangweni giving Bafana Bafana a seventh-minute lead which Sulley Muntari cancelled soon after.

Sangweni, a younger brother of resting first-choice centre-back Siyabonga, caught Norway-based goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey napping with a long-range shot in scorching conditions.

Ghana, tipped by many pundits to face Ivory Coast in the February 12 final of a three-week tournament co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, reacted swiftly and Muntari from Inter Milan equalised within five minutes.

The Black Stars controlled the rest of the opening half, but lacked punch up front in the absence of injured star striker Asamoah Gyan and had to retreat later as increasingly adventurous South Africa pressed for a winner.

It was the third draw within 10 days for the shock Cup of Nations non-qualifiers after holding Equatorial Guinea 0-0 in Bata and Zambia 1-1 in Johannesburg.

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