NAIROBI, Kenya, October 14 – Harambee Stars head coach Bobby Williamson is yet to register his first win since taking charge after a late salvo from Atlas Lions of Morocco condemned his side to a 3-0 friendly defeat at Marrakech Stadium.
Stars who fielded a side that included three foreign based players led by captain Victor Wanyama who turns out for English Premier League side Southampton, held the hosts until the last 15 minutes when El Mehdi Karnass, Mbark Boussoufa and Mouhcine Iajour beat Arnold Origi for the goals.
Norway’s Lillestrome first choice keeper Origi who made a return to the team for the first time since AFCON pre-qualifiers against Comoros in May had until then kept his side in it with the back line of Edwin Wafula, Jackson Saleh, David ‘Calabar’ Owino and Abuod Omar failed to contain the Moroccan forwards.
Karnass who made his second international appearance struck first in the 76th minute after going past Omar to unleash a cracker that flew to the top left corner past the despairing dive of Origi.
Lokomotiv Moscow’s attacking midfielder Boussoufa doubled the advantage converting from the spot four minutes from time, sending the Stars custodian the wrong way for his sixth international goal.
Iajour, a former Raja Casablanca forward sealed victory in the 89th after connecting a cross from the right as Morocco celebrated their third friendly win in a row and second in four days after a 4-0 win over Central African Republic.
Kenya who returned to North Africa two months after going down 1-0 to seven-time African champions Egypt, failed to muster a shot on target for the entire duration of the game having left record scorer, Dennis Oliech back home despite turning up for training uninvited.
With El-Merreikh’s Allan Wanga Cup tied, Tusker’s Jesse Were injured and Gor Mahia youngster Timothy Otieno missing the friendly due to illness, Williamson started with Belgian based winger Ayub Timbe upfront alongside, Leopards’ Noah Wafula, KRA’s Geoffrey Kataka but none of them could even net a consolation.
The defeat saw Kenya go six international matches without a win, losing three of their past four while their first win was in May when they beat Comoros 1-0 at home in AFCON pre-qualifiers.
Morocco who will be hosting the continental showpiece for the second time, were using the build-up match as part of preparation ahead of the 30th edition three weeks-long tournament that will run from January 17 to February 8.
Stars on the other hand who are out of the international football for two years used the match to rebuild the team.