Kenya’s Harambee Stars ensured they finished off their World Cup qualifying campaign on a high though the result had little bearing on the final road to Brazil in 2014.
Gor Mahia full back David ‘Calabar’ Owino scored the lone goal of the match in the 6th minute to give the Stars a 1-0 win over the Brave Warriors. With the result, Kenya finish third in the Group behind eventual winners Nigeria and second placed Malawi.
This was the first and only win for the Kenyan boys in the qualifiers. Kenya started off the match brightly and they would be rewarded just five minutes with Owino carrying his club scoring form to the national team.
Owino struck a sweet swinger from Francis Kahata’s corner to give Coach Adel Amrouche a perfect start to the match. However, Namibia were undeterred by the early goal and they kept the pressure upfront. Aboud Omar in his first ever full international start in national colors had a torrid start on the left wing as he kept being bombarded by the Malawi wingers.
Louis Jerome came close to leveling the scores but Kenya custodian Dancun Ochieng pulled off a wonderful save to deny him after Aboud Omar’s poor marking on the left gifted Willy Stephanus space to swing in a cross.
Namibia continued going forward but they were never successful in getting the equalizer. Dennis Oliech on the opposite end wasted chances to increase the scoreline for the home side with one clear opportunity from his head going begging.
Towards the end of the half, Amrouche pulled off Edwin Lavatsa for Allan Wanga in a bid to strengthen the attack. In the second period, the visitors started off stronger and they would cause all sorts of trouble to the Stars’ defense.
Jackob Pinehas twice came close to leveling, first shooting just inches wide from Kris Katjikwa’s cross and the second attempt from the right being swept out by Brian Mandela for a corner. Henrick Shallis had another opportunity from a free-kick at the edge of the box but he wasted it shooting over.
Stars came back into the match and it had to take the unfortunate injury to Brian Mandela which necessitated his substitution to bring calmness back to the game. David Ochieng moved back to defense from his earlier defensive midfield role while Peter Opiyo came into midfield replacing the injured Mandela.
Stars were more offensive and Allan Wanga came close to doubling the advantage with a raffling shot that hit the cross bar. Dennis Oliech was twice flagged down for offside after being played in by Jamal Mohammed and he was soon to be replaced by Jesse Were, who was making his international debut.
Stars kept the pressure upfront and at the same time keeping the discipline at the back to hold onto the lead.