By: ISAAC SWILA
Harambee Stars drew 1-1 with Burundi Swallows in their second group match of the 2015 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup at the Hawassa International Stadium on Wednesday.
Stars were forced to rally from behind to salvage a point after the Swallows raced into a 12th minute lead through Amissi Tambwe who slotted home from close range after being fed by Sofapaka midfielder Fuadi Ndayisenga.
Veteran right-back Noah Abich was largely at fault in the build up to the first goal, failing to deal with the Sofapaka midfielder from the left.
Michael Olunga, back into the starting line-up, hauled Kenya back into the game with a low right foot shot directed to the bottom right corner of the post in the 42nd minute after Jacob Keli had set him in the box.
It was from a tight angle and the physically imposing Olunga did well to shield the ball from his markers before pulling the trigger with his less preferred right foot.
It was a tough, physical but highly tactical game with each side training their eyes on the quarter-finals, which would have been secured with a win by either side but at the end of the contest, each side had to settle for a point.
“It was a great performance but a hard job because of the weather. We could have had a goal or two in the second half but I’m always very positive with my strikers,” Stars coach Bobby Williamson said in his post-match review. “The positive thing is that we scored a goal and kept a clean sheet in the second half.”
Williamson kept faith in the squad that brushed aside Uganda Cranes 2-0 in their opening match with Olunga being the only change.
However, Stars were made to labour in the first half with their first shot on target being the Olunga goal.
The Gor Mahia ace, who has now scored 36 goals for club and country across all competitions in this calendar year, came close with two long range attempts in the second half but Burundi custodian Arthur Arakaza was equal to task.
With the result, Stars top group B on four points same as Burundi though the latter have an inferior goal difference.
“My boys relaxed after the goal. The Kenyan team was good though Karim (Nizigiyimana) played a key role in the result,” Burundi coach, Alain Oliver said after the match.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION