Harambee Stars suffer humiliating defeat to lowly Eritrea to exit Cecafa tourney
Harambee Stars midfielder Kenneth Muguna was lost for words on Tuesday as the Kenyan national team suffered its worst defeat this year, to tumble out of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda.
Kenya suffered a 4-1 spanking at the hands of lowly Eritrea in the first semi-final fixture of the regional football tournament at a packed StarTimes Stadium in Kampala.
“To be honest, I just do not know what happened today. We found ourselves suddenly trailing and then fought back but ran out of luck and gas. Fair play to our opponents,” Muguna explained.
This shocking outcome also means Kenya has surrendered the title it won in Nairobi under coach Paul Put in 2017.
Eritrea captain Robel Teklemichel had, in his pre-match remarks issued a warning to the Kenyan camp to prepare for tiki taka (Spanish for a fast passing game) battle and boy didn’t he keep his word.
The Red Sea boys got off the blocks quickly and got rewarded when Ulinzi Stars forward Oscar Wamalwa, arguably Kenya’s most impressive player this year, succumbed to pressure and put the ball in his own net to hand Eritrea the lead.
DEAD AND BURIED
Not even the return of coach Francis Kimanzi to the dugout after serving a two-match touchline ban could inspire team Kenya.
Instead, Abel Solomon made it 2-0 seven minutes after the break before Wamalwa got things right to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
But Eritrea, ranked 205 out 210 teams on the Fifa rankings, some 100 places below Kenya, were far from done.
Micheal Habte Gebremesqel added goal number three after 75 minutes before the exciting Teklemichel hammered the final nail on Kenya’s coffin.
Eritrea will either face hosts Uganda or Tanzania in the final on Thursday while Kenya awaits the loser of that game for a contest to determine which team finishes third and fourth in this eight-team tournament.