Kenya’s national soccer team Harambee Stars on Tuesday extended their rising form with a lone goal win over visiting Liberia in an international friendly match at the Safaricom stadium Kasarani. The win is a big boost for coach Stanley Okumbi whose take over months ago was clouded in controversy. However, today Okumbi and the Federation (FKF) boasts of a team that has gone for eight matches without a loss with two wins coming back to back within five days.Kenya also defeated Mozambique 1-0 on Saturday at the same venue.
Against Liberia, Greece based winger Paul Were sneaked through a poorly arranged defense line to slot the ball under an advancing Liberian custodian whose defense line was up in arms calling for offside. Were did not waste the perfectly weighted defense splitting pass from Eric Johanna as he finally found the net in the 53rd minute after numerous missed opportunities in the opening half. Making three changes to his team that played Mozambique on Saturday , Coach Okumbi started two fast paced wingers Paul Were on the left flank and Ayub Timbe on the left while also introducing Aboud Omar at the left back. Liberia presented the first real danger in the opening three minutes through their danger man Anthony Laffor but his effort was well dealt with by custodian Boniface Oluoch.
Ayub Timbe then created a clear chance three minutes later on the opposite end but his square pass was parried back into play by the Liberian keeper Tommy Songo. Michael Olunga failed to convert onto the second ball missing a clean chance in the six yard area. Kenya’s best chance came in the 12th minute as a goal bound shot by Were hit under the bar and bounced off the line back into play. An a advancing Olunga attempted a volley that was again saved back into play before captain Wanyama shot wide from close range. Zesco’s Anthony Akumu was introduced at the start of the second period for Victor Wanyama while Eric Ouma came in for Aboud Omar. The duo injected some fast pace as the second period was equally characterized by missed chances for the hosts who bombarded their opponents in the opening 15 minutes.
This paid off in the 53rd minute when Paul Were cut through the defense line to slot home the winner. The Liberians protested the goal claiming the referee ignored a clean offside though replay footage indicated the last man slightly delayed to pull out of the last line before the ball was released.
Speaking after the match , Kenya coach Stanley Okumbi says ,” This was a good result for us and I am glad we keep pushing up every time. The two wins are good for us because we need more of our players to get opportunities in big leagues out there and that can only happen when our ranking is well placed.”