NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 – Kenya Under-20 head coach Stanley Okumbi says he was pleased with the performance of his charges after coming from a goal down to beat Sudan 3-1 in a friendly match at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Monday afternoon.
Sudan went ahead through Nogh Hussein before the home boys equalized through Selassie Otieno and went ahead via goals from Ronald Reagan and Mathew Mwendwa.
“It was a very tough match because Sudan are an equally very strong team. We are trying to build a new team from last year because most of the players we had at the CECAFA Championship have already graduated to the next level,” head coach Okumbi explained.
He added; “We conceded early but I had to tell the boys to relax and keep calm. We tried to keep the ball and attacked well especially in the second half when we had good chances to score.”
Sudan went ahead after just eight minutes when Hussein slapped the ball home from close range after being played thgrough by Yousif Abdelkarim.
But The Rising Stars equalized minutes later when Selassie jumped highest at the edge of the six yard box to head home a well delivered freekick from Boniface Mwangemi.
In the second half, Okumbi’s charges stepped up their attack, Reagan making it 2-1 with a smashing shot inside the box. Alphonce Washe had initiated the attack driving from the right to shoot at goal with the keeper spilling.
Selassie picked up the spills before teeing up Reagan for the second.
Substitute Mwendwa then made it 3-1 with a beautiful goal, dribbling through to the edge of the box before a swift shift in direction earned him space to shoot into the bottom right corner.
The two teams will face each other again on Thursday for the final build up tie before they both leave for the CECAFA Under-20 Championship to be staged in Arusha, Tanzania from November 22-December 6.
Kenya is drawn in Pool C of the tournament where they will face off with Ethiopia and Sudan. Group A is comprised of hosts Tanzania, Rwanda, Somalia, and Djibouti, while Group B will have Burundi, Eritrea, South Sudan, and Uganda.
The top teams in each of the three groups will proceed to the tournament’s semi-finals, alongside one best runner-up.
The finalists, meanwhile, are set to earn an automatic slot at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations.