Duncan Inyangala, Nairobi, Kenya-Kenya’s national football team, Harambee Stars produced a masterclass performance to inch closer to the 2019 African Nations Cup qualification after overcoming Ethiopia 3-0 in Sunday’s Group F tie in front of a capacity 60,000 crowd at Kasarani Stadium.
Sweden-based Eric Johanna put up man of the match display, scoring a goal, providing an assist and earning a penalty to put Kenya in a pole position to make a return to the continent’s biggest tournament for the first time since 2004.
The victory saw Kenya go four points clear at the top of the group. Migne’s men will have sealed a place in next year’s finals in Cameroon if Sierra Leone’s suspension from the qualification process is not lifted.
The IF Brommapojkarna fc winger set up Michael Olunga to break the deadlock with a magnificent curler from the right flank in the 23rd minute before he got himself onto the score-sheet with a screamer from Eric Ouma’s rebound at the edge of the box five minutes later to give the hosts a two goal cushion to the break.
Captain Victor Wanyama redeemed himself with a well taken penalty from the spot in the 67th minute after Johanna had been tripped by Ahmed Reshad in the box. The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was later substituted after picking up a suspected hamstring injury with Johanna Omollo replacing him as an injured Johanna was also replaced by Ismael Gonzales.
Despite taking his unbeaten run to three games, Harambee coach Sebastian Migné said it is not yet celebration time.
“I’m happy we scored three goals, won and kept a clean sheet. But we have not qualified yet because we are yet to know the real situation for Sierra Leone. But this still work in progress and we would all love to play in Cameroon,” said Migné.
Though Ethiopia coach Abraham Mebratu conceded the defeat, he is still hopeful of progressing to Afcon finals.
“Congratulations to Kenya for the win. We conceded all the three goals due to lack of concentration. But the penalty changed everything. We are still hopeful of qualifying because we are yet to receive any official communication from CAF regarding Sierra Leone’s situation, “said Mebratu.
The game started with Harambee Stars looking the better of the two sides, but they failed to trouble Ethiopia goalkeeper in the opening quarter.
It was until the 23rd minute that Johanna combined well with Olunga on the left flank to put the stadium into frenzy.
Johanna then gave the Ethiopian goalkeeper Samson Asefa no chance when he connected a rebound from impressive Eric Ouma’s delivery from the left to give Migne’s men a comfortable halftime lead.