A late strike from Francis Kahata was all Harambee Stars needed to down The Flames of Malawi 1-0 in a friendly played on Tuesday.
Coach Sebastien Migne's intention was made clear from the selected eleven; he made just two changes from the team that beat Ghana by a solitary goal in the Afcon Qualifiers. Posta Rangers defender Jockins Atudo took the place of the injured Philemon Otieno with Jesse Were coming in place of Michael Olunga.
The visitors named a strong eleven also that involved John Banda, Grald Phiri and Richard Mbulu hoping to get something after that heavy 3-0 loss to hosts Morocco in the 2019 Afcon Qualifiers.
It was a low start for both sides as the teams avoided conceding that early goal, but it was the home team that settled early especially in the build up from the defense to attack.
The Flames almost got an opener in the 29th minute when John Banda found his way to a promising position and he unleashed a good shot that was not dealt with properly by goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, fortunately Musa Mohammed was there to clear the danger.
Kenya had several chances to open the scoring, but Were, Dennis Odhiambo and Erick Johanna wasted them. Harambee Stars came back stronger after the break, with substitute Erick 'Marcello' Ouma bringing in good crosses that were not finished by striker Piston Mutamba, who had taken Jesse Were's position.
The lively Ouma continued terrorizing the visitors with energetic runs on the left, but it was Francis Kahata, who made the difference. It was a perfect move between ‘Marcello’ and Omar that allowed Gor Mahia midfielder Kahata to get into a perfect position, and finish a well delivered ball by Ouma.
Anthony Akumu had a good chance of doubling the advantage with a few minutes on the clock but his effort went way over the bar. Kenya will face Ethiopia in October in the Afcon Qualifiers hoping to bag maximum points.
Kenya XI: Patrick Matasi (GK), Abud Omar, Jockins Atudo, Joash Onyango, Musa Mohammed, Ismael Gonzalez, Dennis Odhiambo, Francis Kahata, Eric Johanna, Ovella Ochieng and Michael Olunga.
Subs: Faruk Shikalo (GK) Brian Bwire (GK), Joseph Okumu, Eric Ouma, David Ochieng, Bernard Ochieng, Anthony Akumu, Abdalla Hassan, Cliff Nyakeya, Pistone Mutamba and Jesse Were
Malawi XI: Brighton Munthali (GK), Stanley Sanudi, John Lanjesi, Mzava Limbikani, Precious Sambani, John Banda, Rafick Namwera, Alfred Manyozo, Richard Mbulu, Gerald Phiri and Gabadinho Mhango.
Subs: Charles Swini, Yamikani Fodya, Gomezgani Chirwa, Frank Banda, Atusaye Nyondo, Chiukepo Msowoya and Patrick Phiri.