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Harambee Stars Beats Pakistan in Four Nations Tournament in Mauritius
- Harambee Stars got their Four Nations campaign underway with a 1-0 win over Pakistan
- Kenya displayed fantastic football, especially in the first half, with Moses Shumah's strike proving to be the difference
- Up next for Engin Firat's charges will be a clash against the hosts Mauritius on Sunday
Kenya's men's national football team, Harambee Stars, beat Pakistan 1-0 in the Four Nations Tournament at the Cote D'Or National Sports Complex in Mauritius.
The Four Nations Tournament is a series of international friendlies over the span of one week that involves Kenya, Mauritius, Pakistan, and Djibouti.
Harambee Stars, under the tutelage of Engin Firat, showed great composure with slick football in the first half. The players passed around the ball easily as they dominated Pakistan. The Sian country is, however, ranked in 195th position by FIFA, whereas Kenya is in position 102.
The Wednesday afternoon encounter was supposed to be Kenya's second in the tournament, but they missed their opening game on Sunday against Djibouti due to what was termed a 'lack of a flight to Mauritius'.
Kakamega Homeboyz forward, Moses Shumah, who was making his international bow, scored the only goal of the game in the 17th minute from close range.
A string of more intricate passes failed to bear more goals, with Shumah coming close to getting a second two minutes before the break. The 20-year-old embarked on a wonderful solo run, but his effort on goal was thwarted to force a corner.
Kenya vs. Pakistan: second half
After the break, Pakistan came back a rejuvenated side as they sought to breach Kenya's defence. The earliest chances of the second period, however, fell to Kenya, with captain Michael Olunga setting up Eric 'Marcelo' Ouma with a lovely backheel.
The Swedish-based defender, however, slipped in Pakistan's area before he could pull the trigger. In the 73rd minute, Olunga forced a powerful reflex reaction from Pakistani goalkeeper Yousuff But. Pakistan had decent chances of their own as they grew into the game but couldn't get themselves on the scoresheet.
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Richard Odada, who plies his trade with Philadelphia Union, was named the Man of the Match. Kenya's next game will be against hosts Mauritius on June 18. Mauritius beat Pakistan 3-0 in their opening game.
Speaking after the game, Firat expressed disappointment with how his team played despite the victory.
"I am not impressed with how we played. It was very slow. 1-0 is not enough for me, but credit to Pakistan for playing like it is their final game."
This was Kenya's second game after the ban imposed by FIFA was lifted last year. They played Iran in March.
Kenya vs. Iran friendly
Previously, Sports Brief reported that Kenya's international goalkeeper Patrick Matasi made some costly errors as Harambee Stars went 2-1 down to Iran in an international friendly game in Tehran on March 28th.
Michael Olunga put Kenya ahead, but the hosts fought their way back with two late goals. Iran showed their pedigree by settling into the game quickly, with a huge crowd at the Azadi Stadium backing the team.
Playing against a team ranked number 24 in the world, Engin Firat's team went toe-to-toe with Iran in the first half with a resolute defensive performance at the back.