NAIROBI, Kenya, July 15 – Harambee Stars captain, Victor Wanyama, received his first international red card as visiting Burundi Swallows held Kenya to a goalless draw in a friendly at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium Tuesday.
Stars were using the build-up as preparation ahead of Sunday’s 2015 African Cup of Nations second round qualifiers first leg tie against Lesotho in Maseru.
Apart from Wanyama, five foreign based players including his elder brother Macdonald Mariga, midfielder Peter Opiyo, Sudan based Allan Wanga and Francis Kahata joined the team and were part of the action in the second half.
With head coach Adel Amrouche, suspended for two matches by CAF watching from the stands, assistant James Nandwa started with local based players, giving latest call-ups; midfielders Stephen Ocholla and Osborne Monday as well as defender Dennis Odhiambo the start.
“The match was a good build up ahead of our Sunday match against Lesotho; we have few days to train. I believe the coach has identified our mistakes that we are going to work on,” Mariga said after the match.
The first period was an cagey affair with the hosts coming close to the opener on 10 minutes through defender Stephane Rugonumagabo who almost scored an own goal from James Situma’s cross but his deflected shot hit the cross bar.
The Swallows who were dominating the midfield, responded in the 20th when Amisi Tambwe made a good run from the right to beat Situma, only to see his effort hit the side netting.
KRA forward Geoffrey Kataka could have scored his first international goal at the half hour mark when he shot from range to force keeper Innocent Mboni to spill the ball in the box but Jacob Keli was too slow to tap rebound home.
Stars made five substitutions at the start of the second half with Wanyama, Mariga, Opiyo, Kahata and Wanga coming on as the side resembled its regular starting team.
It took only 13 minutes for Wanyama to be sent off after hacking down a Burundian midfielder and his protests at the Ugandan referee Ssali Mashood saw him receive his marching orders for gross misconduct.
Despite being a man down, Stars continued to pile pressure on the Swallows with Jockins Atudo threatening with a quarter an hour left through a powerful header that forced Mboni to tip over for a fruitless corner.
The last chance for Stars came six minutes later when Mariga and Aboud combined on the left before the former crossed for Harrison Mwendwa whose shot was deflected for Mboni to rescue.
Stars are currently at residential training camp at Kasarani Stadium and are expected to depart before the end of the week for Maseru.