September 23, 2021

Nyakeya: Harambee Star suggests why Kenya were punished by Comoros

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The hosts settled for a 1-1 draw in a Group G Afcon qualifier staged at Kasarani on Wednesday night

Harambee Stars winger Cliff Nyakeya believes the team was punished by Comoros for starting the game casually.

In Wednesday’s game, M’changama Youssouf put Comoros ahead from a free-kick which was expertly taken, wrong-footing Arnold Origi in the Kenya goal, but Masoud Juma equalised for the Harambee Stars in the second half after the visitors were reduced to 10 men ahead of the half-time break.

Before the goal by the visitors, the Harambee Stars had looked the stronger side in the opening minutes and were unlucky not to take a lead in the second minute when Ayub Timbe floated the ball from the left-wing but Brian Mandela headed wide. 

In the 11th minute, when Cliff Nyakeya ran fast on the right-wing before passing the ball to Timbe on the left, he winger was brought down and the subsequent calls for a penalty were dismissed by referee Mutaz Ibrahim.   

Kenya were left to rue these missed chances when they fell behind in the 26th minute through Youssouf ‘s set-piece.

“Everything was good from the squad and tactical approach by the technical bench,” Nyakeya told Goal on Friday.

“We were punished because we started the match casually; otherwise we had every chance to win the game and be in a good position.”

After three Group G games, Kenya have not yet registered a win – they started with a 1-1 draw in Alexandria, Egypt against the hosts before being held by the same margin by Togo and Comoros.  

Wednesday’s draw puts Kenya in a tricky situation considering two of their remaining three matches are played away. The first one will be on Sunday against the islanders before travelling to Togo. Then they finish against Egypt at home.  

“On Sunday, we have to employ a better approach and ensure we get a positive outcome,” the 25-year-old Nyakeya continued.

“We have to give our best to win. Whether we qualify for Afcon or not will depend on Sunday’s outcome.

“I am assuring the fans that we are going to give absolutely everything to be in a position to come home with maximum points. We learn through mistakes and after the game we played [on Wednesday] I believe we are ready to make amends.”