Kenya registered their first victory in Cosafa Cup tournament after Gor Mahia striker Edwin Lavasta scored in either half to help silence Swazi in Group 'B'
Kenya coach Adel Amrouche made four changes to his starting line-up resting defender Musa Mohammed, goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng, Kennedy Otieno and forward Andrew Murunga and instead, handed Jerim Onyango, Aboud Omar, Rama Salim and Mungai Kiongera the starting nod.
Kenya, who on Monday drew 2-2 with Lesotho in their opening match played at Arthur Davies Stadium, went ahead as early as 5th minute when Lavatsa tapped home a cross from left flank beating the advancing Nhlanhhla Gwebu in Swaziland goal.
The Kenyans held onto the lead going into the half time break and on resumption, Lavasta finished off his brace this time round powering home a left footed shot from the 18 yard area after Tusker defender Aboud Omar had done the spadework from the left flank.
Kenya’s two goal hero Lavasta admitted that it was a win the team deserved. "It was difficult for us on Monday because we played (against Lesotho) even before having a feel of the venue. I am happy for the two goals but the win is most important for all of us and gives us a chance of progressing to the next round.”
It was also an important win for Kenyan coach Amrouche, who is six month old in the job. Should Stars beat Botswana on Wednesday, they will make it to the quarter-finals where Malawi awaits them.
Swaziland pulled the first blood when Vuyani Mazibuko’s shot was parried away by Jerim Onyango in the Stars goal. Then defender Aboud Omar replied with his own attempt at the Swaziland goal in the third minute but he could not put the ball behind the net.
By this time, the Stars had settled and increased pressure on their opponents resulting in Lavatsa’s goal in the fifth minute. The Swazi’s did not take it lying down and replied with stinging attacks in search of an equalizer. But Paul Kiongera should have scored the second goal for Stars when he failed to tap home a Rama Salim effort.
Swaziland were the more urgent side in the second half of the match forcing a fruitless corner, which was taken by Wonder Nhleko. But the Kenyans, who did a lot of chasing, were seen to be clinical when and where it mattered most with Francis Kahata making brilliant passes on the left flank.
Kenyans recovered quickly for a fruitful counter attack, which saw Lavatsa net his second goal in the 54th minute. Two minutes later, Kahata made a pass that only needed to be tapped in but was squandered by Paul Kiongera whose shot was saved by Gwebu.
Amrouche replaced Kiongera with Andrew Murunga in the 64th minute, but Murunga only played for 16 minutes after sustaining an injury and walking off the pitch. Kenya will next play Botswana in Kitwe on the July 11 (Thursday) to determine their position on Group 'B' standings.