Dar es Salaam – The national soccer team, Taifa Stars, played out a one-all draw with host Kenya in an international friendly at Moi Sports Centre Kasarani yesterday. Kenya comprising a host of household names were forced to come from behind to salvage a draw and save themselves the blushes.
Elias Maguli, the Stand United striker, broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute with Harambee Stars skipper replying six minutes later from the spot.
Taifa Stars employed a combination of high pressing game denying the host the chance to freely flow and possession football as they knocked the ball around more; their point of attack was the right wing where Aboud Omar was always caught off position as he moved forward to assist in attack forgetting to fall back.
Maguli broke free on the right 12 minutes into the game and with acres of space to exploit; he decided to shoot way off the mark. Eric Masika on the other end was too pacy for Tanzania’s wing backs, and in the 22nd minute he was brought down on the edge of the box resulting into a free kick which Aboud delivered into the area with defender David Owino heading wide.
Harambee Stars grew further into the game, with long aimless passes from the defensive midfielders, but it was at this point of ascendancy where they got hit hard as they once more were exposed on the right wing.
Maguli rose high to head in the opener from the right for the visitors two minutes past the half hour mark. Six minutes later, Ayub Timbe Masika was brought down inside the box with skipper Victor Wanyama converting the resultant penalty. The game remained tied 1-1 at the interval.
Tanzania are at home to Egypt next weekend needing either a 3-0 victory or a four-goal winning margin to retain a chance of qualifying for the Cup of Nations in Gabon. Back into the second half, Kenya stepped up attack and should have gone ahead immediately but Aboud’s grass cutting cross from the left rolled in front of goal with no one to tap in.
Abdul then dribbled his way into Kenya’s danger area but his final shot was awful and never troubled keeper Boniface Oluoch.
Harambee coach Stanley Okumbi then withrew Zesco United striker Jesse Were who had just fired wide in the 69th minute for Wycliffe Ochomo.
He further withrew defensive midfielder Anthony Agai Akumu for more offensive Ali Abondo and Ayub Timbe for Ulinzi Stars striker John Makwata.
All these manoeuvres failed as nothing further ensued worth mentioning with both sides keen not to concede and the clock winding down. The match ended 1-1. Both teams used the build up match to prepare for AFCON 2017 Qualifiers next month where Kenya will play Congo Brazzaville while Tanzania will host Egypt. Kenya is winless in their last four outings and just like Tanzania have a slim chance of advancing to the finals.
Source: The Citizen