With current and former Gor Mahia players forming half the team, Harambee Stars registered their first win of the 2017 Africa Nations cup qualifiers when they beat Congo-Brazza at Kasarani on Sunday.
In action were current Gor Mahia players captain Musa Mohamed, Boniface Oluoch, Francis Kahata and Eric Ouma. While former Kogalo players Anthony Akumu, David Owino Calabar and Michael Olunga also featured.
Additional reporting from the Nation
Eric Johanna struck a second half winner as Harambee Stars rallied from behind to beat visiting Republic of Congo 2-1 in a thrilling Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani on Sunday.
The visitors, playing in all white, took the lead courtesy of Prince Oniangue’s controversial penalty in the 20th minute before Ayub Timbe levelled the scores with a well taken volley just four minutes later.
Stars started strongly with Johanna, captain Victor Wanyama and Ismail Gonzalez all making statements of intent early in the game but it is the visitors who drew first blood after Gonzalez was punished for a foul inside the box which Oniangue stepped forward and sent Boniface Oluoch the wrong way for the opener.
Stars pushed hard for the equaliser and their efforts were soon rewarded after Timbe pounced on a long drop ball from Oluoch to drill home with a powerful volley.
The Kenyans upped the tempo in midfield with Wanyama, Francis Kahata and Gonzalez dictating play but the Red Devils had another close chance of taking the lead with Dikamona Clevio rattling the bar just eight minutes before half time.
Under-pressure Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi made his first tactical change in the 54th minute, bringing in experienced defending midfielder Anthony Akumu for Gonzalez – who received a warm applause from the spectators as he walked off the pitch.
With the home crowd anxious for a win, Wanyama picked the ball in midfield before releasing Johanna with a clever ball and the Mathare United man outsprinted his marker and looped the ball past Congo goalkeeper Christopher Mafoumbi with 22 minutes to the final whistle to give coach Okumbi his maiden win.
Kenya Starting XI: Boniface Oluoch, Musa Mohammed, David Owino, Brian Mandela, Eric Ouma, Victor Wanyama, Ismail Gonzalez,(Anthony Akumu 50′) Eric Johanna,( Paul Were,70′) Francis Kahata, Michael Olunga, Ayub Timbe ( Ali Abondo,90′)
Unused Subs: David Okello (GK), Eugene Asike, ,Jesse Were, Aboud Omar
Congo Starting XI: Christopher Mafoumbi (GK), Prince Oniangue (65′ Massenga Jordan), Francis Nganga,(Bouka Moutu 50′) Marvin Boubry, Lepicie Mael, Mercil Ndockyt, Delvin Ndinga, Dore Ferebory,( Ibara Vinny75′) Nguessi Ondamaf, Clevin Dikamona, Thievy Bifouma
Unused Subs: Ndzila Pavelh (GK), Igor Nganga, , Malonga Dominique, Chris Malonga