Gor Mahia skipper Kenneth Muguna’s scoring form at club level, continued at the national team level on Sunday. Against the Uganda Cranes on Sunday, Muguna scored the equalizer that salvaged a 1-1 draw for Kenya’s Harambee Stars.
It was a day of redemption for Muguna because he had been left out of the Kenya squad that played in the 2019 AFCON. Lawrence Juma also made his national team debut. Highly deserved.
The goal resulted from the hard work of former Gor Mahia defender Eric Ouma “Marcelo”. He made a determined run down the left flank, shrugging off several Ugandan opponents before setting up Ayub Timbe who in turn sent an inviting cross that Mugana deflected passed the hapless Uganda goalkeeper.
Uganda had taken the lead in the first half when a defensive blunder saw the Ugandans disposses Kenya in the penalty box. The ball was passed to Emmanuel Okwi who sliced the kenya defence to score. At this point Uganda were creating more chances. In fact minutes earlier, another Kenya defensive blunder gifted the Ugandans the ball in the penalty box but the Ugandan effort slammed against the upright. Kenya defenders have been trying to pass the ball from deep. But under pressure they often cough up the ball. A bright spot for Kenya in the first half was Ayub Timbe whose pace and explosive moves on the left flank were too difficult for Uganda to handle. Still Michael Olunga, again playing as a lone striker, hardly saw any of the ball.
Kenya came back a much better side in the second half. Muguna’s goal came in the 50th minute. Kenya continued to press. In the 55th minute, Eric Johana came close with a clever lob but his effort was saved by the Ugandan custodian. Next it was Olunga’s turn. His header was also saved by the Ugandan keeper.
In the 80th minute, Ayub Timbe was fouled in the penalty box. But the Ugandan keeper gave a free-kick on the edge of the box instead. Olunga was to come close again 5 minutes later. His header struck the cross bar. The last chance fell to Boniface Muchiri whose effort was one of his trade mark long range missiles. Again the Ugandan keeper parried the ball.
Kenya XI: Patrick Matasi, Samuel Olwande, Eric Ouma, Mike Kibwage, Joash Onyango, Collins Agade, Lawrence Juma, Kenneth Muguna, Ayub Timbe, Eric Johanna, Michael Olunga,
Subs: Farouk Shikalo, Johnstone Omurwa, Brian Otieno, Cliffton Miheso, Francis Kahata, Duke Abuya, Whyvonne Isuza, Cliff Nyakeya, Boniface Muchiri, Enosh Ochieng.
Uganda XI: Charles Lukwago, Willa Paul, Mustafa Kizza, Revita John, Timothy Awany, Khalid Aucho, Taddeo Lwanga, Allan Okello, Luwagga Kizito, Emmanuel Okwi, Allan Kyambadde,
Subs: Joel Mutakubwa, Mujuzi Mustafa, Halid Lwaliwa, Muzamir Mutyaba, Bright Anukani, Fahad Aziz Bayo, Allan Kayiwa.