Harambee Stars yesterday lost 1-0 to Swaziland national football team Sihlangu Semnikati in a friendly match at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County.
Stars conceded in the 77th minute when Mandla Palma cashed in a goalmouth pandemonium to beat goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch at close range.
This was Stars second loss in a trot after they succumbed 3-2 to the war-raved Central African Republic in a friendly on March 27, in Marrakech, Moroccco.
The last time Kenya savoured victory was on March 26, 2017 when they blitzed Democratic Republic of Congo’s Leopards 2-1 in a Fifa-sanctioned friendly in Machakos.
During Friday’s match that was graced by Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa among other dignitaries, Stars were the hungrier of the two teams to score in the early exchanges but lost flair as it progressed..
In fact, Stars almost went ahead in the 11th minute when Sihlangu defender Lindo Mkhonta, in a desperate bid to clear an offensive from Gor Mahia’s offensive midfielder Philemon Otieno, almost netted into his own net.
But it was not Kenya all the way at the juncture as six minutes later, Swaziland launched a raid of their own, a dangerous cross being floated in the hosts defence with Elix Bendenhos’ power-packed shot going agonizingly wide with goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch rooted to the ground.
Swaziland who thrived on long balls nearly breached Kenya’s defence in the 23rd minute but AFC Leopards fullback Micheal Kibwage came in the nick of time to deny Njabulo Ndlovu with Sihlangu getting an unfruitful corner kick.
However, it was still Stars who held possession and once more, they dithered with a guilt-edged scoring chance in the 23rd minute when Whyvonne Isuza was denied by Sihlangu goalkeeper Sandanezwe Mathabela from 30 yards out.
Jockins Atodo was to come to the rescue of Stars on the half hour mark when he scrambled the ball out for a throw-in after a twin pronged attack by Swazi captain Tony Tsabedze and Xolani Sibandze during which time the latter almost sneaked the ball past an unsuspecting Oluoch.
Minutes later a long ball from Eric “Marcelo”Ouma fell kindly on the feet of Ovellah who, after exchanging passes with Kahata, released a shot that could not trouble Mathabela as the Swazis retreated to the defence in their numbers to thwart the offensive.
The early moments of the second half saw Banele Dlamini stave off an effort by Patillah Omotto with an overhead clearance before Joash Onyango frustrated Tsabedze’s penetrating run in Kenya’s defence three minutes after the breather.
Ouma then earned a yellow card after fouling Musa Dlamini in the 50th minute but the resultant free-kick by Mandla Palma went begging even as Sihlangu introduced Wonder Nhleko to replace Xolani Sibandze.
In the 61st minute, a well weighted cross by Omotto found no taker as Siboniso Ngwenya came out of the blues to scramble the ball away to safety.