Kenya held Comoros to a 1-1 draw in Group G of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Wednesday. The Harambee Stars of Kenya had a hard time getting past Comoros’ goalkeeper Ali Ahamada, even after numerous attempts. Comoros preceded with their goal from Bakari Said, which was a free kick taken near the box in the 26th minute. Kenya later came on to score a fantastic goal from Masoud Juma in the 65th minute. The game was one of two legs in the AFCON qualifiers with the second leg to be held on Sunday, 15th November in Comoros.
Comoros were dealt a blow after Youssouf M’Changama was sent off the pitch in the 41st minute. He automatically got a red card after a second bookable offense. He already had one bookable offense and on being given a yellow card in the game, was sent off the pitch. The Harambee Stars were able to take advantage of the 10-man squad and were able to equalize in the second half. Juma’s goal was an acrobatic kick that followed a cross that was headed to him and set at the proper height. The goal was a wonderful display of the growth of Kenyan football.
Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee
Harambee Stars are under a new coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee who returned to the helm of the squad after a decade. He replaced Francis Kimanzi who left after an agreement between him and the Football Kenya Federation, FKF. FKF president Nick Mwendwa was in attendance, as was the right honorable former prime minister, Raila Odinga, and the deputy president William Ruto. The game was held in the Moi Sports Center, Kasarani Stadium on wet and slippery ground. Comoros seemed to have a hard time adapting to the altitude as they are from a low-altitude part of the continent.
Comoros showed resilience, strength, and stellar leadership from their captain Najim Abdou. Najim was instrumental in Comoros’ defense and ensured that the Harambee Stars had a hard time scoring. Harambee Stars missed the services of striker Michael Olunga who could not attend the duel due to COVID-19 restrictions in Japan. Aboud Omar also faced similar limitations and could not take part in the game. The most valuable players for Stars were Cliff Nyakeya, Ayub Timbe, Masoud Juma, Brian Mandela (pictured above), and captain Victor Wanyama. Stars’ goalkeeper for the game was Arnold Origi who showed a good performance. He is a cousin to Divock Origi, a major star in football.
Comoros remain in the lead in Group G with 5 points, Kenya second with 3 points, followed by Egypt with 2 points, and Togo with 1 point. Wednesday also saw Guinea beat Chad 1-0, Mauritania draw Burundi 1-1, Senegal beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0, and Equatorial Guinea beat Libya 3-2. Sadio Mane scored one goal for Senegal and assisted the other. The second leg match ended in a 2-1 win for Comoros.