Gor Mahia goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch was the man between the posts and Eric Ouma came in as a late substitute as Kenya surprised DR Congo 1-0 in a friendly match played at Le Stade de Martyrs in Kinshasa. The match as well as recent good results against teams like Zambia and Congo-Brazzaville signals a turn in the fortunes of the national team since the departure of the deplorable Sam Nyamweya and Mohamed Hatimy before him under whom Kenya fans went through eight years of misery.
Also in action were former Kogallo players: Michael Olunga who scored the winning goal, David Owino Calabar who was the captain as well as Rama Salim who is now in the Slovakian 3rd tier and Zambia based Anthony Akumu.
Additional reporting from futaa.com
Harambee Stars stretched their recent impressive record under coach Stanley Okumbi further with a 1-0 win over DR Congo’s Leopards 1-0 thanks to a second half goal from Michael Olunga.
The in-form Sweden based attacker strike proved the match winner as Stars downed another formidable African opponent to extend the coach’s unbeaten run to five games.
In a clash, Kenya transitioned from a rather defensive approach in the opening half before turning the match on their favour moments after a couple of second half changes to stun the AFCON bound rivals.
The host looked more determined and dominant in the first half exchanges at the Stade Martys as Stars contend with to soaking up the host onslaught.
The almost the lead after a teasing cross of the right wing that was headed just wide with Boniface Oluoch seeming beaten. Congo came back on on same dominant gear after the breather dictating most of the exchanges and play.
Congo missed chances
The host almost stormed the lead after a defense splitting pass to firmin Mubele ended with a dangerous shot veering just over Oluoch cross bar while Jordan Botaka could only side net after pulling clear of Brian Mandela of the left wing.
Approaching the hour mark, Stars made their first change with American based David Ochieng sent on in place of Ismael Gonzalez before Rama Salim paved way for Paul Were in their second change some minutes later.
It’s the second alteration that worked in birthing Stars breakthrough with Paul Were hugely involved.
Acclaimed for his direct approach, the former Leopards winger embarked on a rare forward move off the left flank before unleashing a cross that came off the upright of Joel Kiassumbua post but only as far as Olunga who chested down to poke home from close range.
The goal worked in startling Florent Ibenge men and their response was up to task as they forced a headed attempt just wide.
Jordan Botaka was at host attacking instinct minutes later but his effort after powering inside Stars territory was straight at Stars Keeper who parried it back.
On other end, Stars looked lively on transition with Olunga combining with Weres to earn earn Kenya another corner inside the final ten.
A number of earned set pieces had a chasing Congo coming close at the final stages but the back line held on to upset the host with a derserved shut out in the tie.
Congo DR Starting XI:
16. Kiassumbua Joel (Matampi Vumi Ley 46’), 14. Zakuani Gabriel, 4. Dualembo Christopher, 22. Chancel Mbemba, 6. Nsimba Vital (13. Lomalisa Joyce 46’), 20. Maghoma Jacques, 15. Youssef Mulumbu, 8. Mpoku Jose (12.Lukebakio Dody 73’), 7. Jordan Botaka, Mubele Firmin (10. Kebano Neeskens 83’), 9. Jonathan Bolingi (Yannick Bolassie 38’)
2. Issama Djos, 17. Bope Merveille,
Kenya Starting XI:
Boniface Oluoch (GK), Jockins Atudo, David Owino (c), Brian Mandela, Aboud Omar (Erick Ouma 88′), Anthony Akumu, Ismael Gonzalez (David Ochieng’ , Eric Johanna (Victor Majid 80’), Rama Salim (Paul Were 62’), Jesse Were,
James Saruni (GK), Amos Ekhalie, Mark Makwatta