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The Standard – Kenya: Emerging Stars Tokyo 2020 Dream crushed by Logarusic’s Sudan | The Standard



Kenya Emerging Stars’ Ibrahim Shambi tumbles under a challenge from Sudan’s Walid Mohamed during their U23 African Qualifiers at Kasarani Stadium [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya bowed out of the Olympic qualifiers after being held to a barren draw by Sudan at Kasarani yesterday.

Sudan go through on a 2-0 goal aggregate and will meet Nigeria.

Seemingly under pressure to score, the Kenyan Under-23 side pressed hard and were rewarded with two corner kicks in a span of three minutes in the first 10 minutes of the match.

However, the best chance for Kenya came at the quarter mark but could not make it count.

Sudan proved dangerous on counter attacks perfectly executed time and again.

The first was in the 17th minute when Mohamed Abbas found himself inside the Kenyan backline unmarked but failed to tap the ball home.

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Those efforts resulted in the first corner for the visitors just before the half-hour mark.

James Mazembe picked out Michael Kibwage with a perfect piercing cross and the header from the KCB defender did not trouble Mohamed Saed in goal.

A few minutes later, Ovella Ochieng’s free-kick whizzed past the Sudan goal and then there was no much action from both sides as the first half petered out.

Sudan were determined to defend and did well on most accounts, defending in numbers before launching counter-attacks.

Poor coordination between the midfield and attacking force let down the home side who simply found it difficult to penetrate the backline.

Come the second half, it was the same story of missed chances by the home team and as panic set in, open chances were fluffed.

The visitors maintained their style defending well and waiting for Kenya to come at them.

When they got a chance they went on a counter-attack and looked very dangerous at it. 

Sudan coach Zradvko Logarusic said his opponents were let down by failing to take their chances.

“Kenya were very good on the ball, but if you don’t score at home you get punished. Overall, I am happy with my boys that they have not conceded in two matches despite the fact that they do not play in the top league. 

“Most of them feature in the second division but they have done well despite training for just two weeks.”

Logarusic also admitted his side will not have it easy against Nigeria who are their next opponents.

“It is a tough one given their pedigree but we will do our best to get the best results.”
Kenyan coach Francis Kimanzi was disappointed and bemoaned the team’s inability to score goals.

“We had one or two chances that we should have buried and when we didn’t do that, it became very difficult for us.”

Kimanzi said he hopes the team can be maintained for future assignments pointing out he had discovered some good players in the campaign.

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