Egypt based winger Cliff Nyakeya’s heroics propelled Kenya to a 2-1 win over Zambia in an international friendly fixture played at the newly refurbished Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi on Friday 9 September.
The FC Masr forward forced an own-goal off defender Tandi Mwape just 20 minutes in, before scoring a cracker in the 36th minute to hand Harambee Stars a commanding lead in the opening stanza.
Substitute Emmanuel Chabula would pull one back for the Chipolopolo with 10 minutes remaining on the clock to set up a tense finale for Francis Kimanzi’s men who would eventually see out the victory in the first match to be played at the Nyayo grounds in four years.
The game was being used by the two nations to help prepare for the upcoming 2021 AFCON Qualifiers slated for November. Stars are to play a double-header against Comoros while Zambia, who still have one more friendly against South Africa left to play, are set to face off against fellow COSAFA neighbours Botswana.
Several of Stars’ big name players including skipper Victor Wanyama and striker Michael Olunga missed the game due to the ongoing travel restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Coach Kimanzi used the game to test several of the country’s lesser known players including defenders Clarke Oduor and Baraka Badi who earned their first senior caps.
Badi who plays for FKFPL side KCB FC played the full 90 at rightback while Oduor, who features for English Championship side Barnsley, came on for the final 18 minutes of the game and marked his debut by making an outstanding goal-line clearance to maintain Kenya’s lead late in the game.
Below is how both nations lined-up;
Starting XI: Ian Otieno 1 (GK), Baraka Badi 3, Brian Mandela 22, Joash Onyango 4, David Owino , Antony Akum 20, Lawrence Juma 4, Kenneth Muguna 8, Eric Johanna 7, Cliff Nyakeya 10, Masud Juma 14
Subs: Timothy Odhiambo 18 (GK), Omurwa 21, Oduor 2, P.Otieno 3, Kahata 16, Abdallah 24, Mohamed 19, A.Otieno 17, Rupia 9, T.Otieno 13, Wamalwa 11
Starting XI: Sebastian Mwange (GK) 1, Lubambo Musonda 11, Zacharia Chilongoshi 23, Tandi Mwape 2, Kabaso Chongo(C) 14, Benson Sakala 6, Kelvin Kapumbu 15, Edward Chilufya 22, Klings Kangwa 17, Evans Kangwa 8, Fashion Sakala 10
Subs: Lameck Siame 18 (GK), Jackson Kakunta 16, Kondwani Chiboni 4, Godfrey Ngwenya 13, Luka Banda 5, Dominic Chanda 12, Leonard Mulenga 9, Chaniza Zulu 19, Collins Sikombe 21, Gamphani Lungu 20, Emmanuel Chabula 3, Kelvin Kampamba 7