Battle lines are drawn in the international friendly between Harambee Stars and The Flames of Malawi at Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) Kasarani today from 3pm.
The match will pit teams which had contrasting fortunes in their respective Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers last weekend and whereas Kenya are basking in the pride of slaying giants Black Stars of Ghana 1-0 in a Group F encounter in Nairobi, Malawi are smarting from a 3-0 whacking by Morocco in a Group B match in Casablanca.
Kenya will be hoping to replicate an outstanding performance against Ghana in a match which saw Nicholas Opoku score an own goal to hand the hosts a lifeline after the heartbreak of losing 2-1 to Sierra Leone in the first match of the qualifier in Freetown on June 10, 2017.
Today’s friendly match will be the final build-up match for Stars ahead of their third qualifying match against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa next month.
For Flames, they can’t wait to post desired results against Stars after shooting themselves on the foot following the slump in Casablanca even after Football Federation of Malawi (FAM) had promised them a ‘substantial” bonus if they pull off a win against the Atlas Lions.
Although Malawi are ranked in the 123rd position by Fifa as compared to Kenya who are rated 112th, statistics show that the former has better head-to-head stats.
Malawi and Kenya have met a total of 35 times in all competitions, the first ever meet being a friendly game played way back on June 7, 1968 in Blantyre, Malawi which ended 2-2.
Broken down, the two have met in friendly games nine times, Africa Cup of Nations-cum-World Cup qualifiers twice, CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup 16 times, Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers twice, World Cup Qualifiers four times, All Africa Games once and once more in a Re-union tournament way back on July 6, 1976.