Coach Stanley Okumbi failed yet again to win his first match as Harambee Stars coach after forcing a 1-1 draw against Sudan in a friendly played at Kasarani on Tuesday.
A stoppage time goal from Kenyan defender and captain of the day Brian Mandela was enough to deny the visitors a deserved win but also kept Okumbi waiting for his first win as coach of the side since taking over from Bobby Williamson.
Okumbi came into the match under pressure following initial results where he has failed to get a win in the past three matches, losing two and drawing another. Erick Ouma was given his debut alongside Chemelil defender Joseph Okumu with Joseph Mbugi also given the starting berth in the absence of Victor Wanyama, Humphrey Mieno and Anthony Akumu.
Kenya could have scored in the 3rd minute when Ouma burst from the left, only for Wycliffe Ochomo to be flagged offside. In the sixth minute, Ovella Ochieng wasted a great opportunity, as he was fed the ball in a promising position, but made a bad decision to shoot, instead of passing it to Ochomo.
Seven minutes later, the impressive ‘Marcello’ fouled Athar Tahir 40 yards from the goal, however, the resulting free-kick went straight to David Okello. Okumbi was forced to make an early substitution to mend his midfield, introducing Francis Kahata in place of the disappointing Tyrus Omondi.
The Falcons continued pushing for an opener which eventually came in the 24th minute. Joseph Mbugi was dispossessed by Nazar Hamid, who in turn released an unstoppable shot from outside the 18 yard box, and gave his team the lead.
Three minutes later, Ochomo thought he had equalized after finishing off a free-kick from the right, only to be denied by an offside flag. It could have been 2-0 in the 39th minute after Abu Abdalla cleverly played in Mudathar El Tayeb, but his fierce low shot was stopped by Okello, who reacted fast to deny him.
After the break, Said Gonzalez and Jesse Were were introduced in places of Joseph Mbugi and Wycliffe Ochomo, and the combination of Ali Abondo, Francis Kahata and Gonzalez brought much needed flair in the Kenyan side.
It was almost 1-1 in the 61st minute after Gonzalez played the ball to Mohammed, who in turn played in Abondo, but Jesse Were failed to finish the move off. In the 75th minute, Kenya won a free-kick on the right which was taken by Were, but Gonzalez headed weakly and the keeper Akram Elhad took it comfortably.
Kenya was reduced to ten men in the dying minutes after Kahata was sent off following a second bookable offence. But the Stars continued pushing, and were rewarded in the 94th minute when they won a corner which was taken by ‘Marcelo’, to Abondo who in turn floated in a cross which was headed in by Mandela.