Harambee Stars was held to a goalless draw by visiting Malawi’s Flames in an international friendly match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Tuesday afternoon, a game watched by new Caf President Ahmad Ahmad.
The two teams were using the match to prepare for the African Nations Championship (Chan).
While Kenya is preparing for the actual tournament as hosts, Malawi will be playing Madagascar in the first round of the qualifiers in Antananarivo on Thursday.
New Malawi Belgian coach Ronny Van Geneugden was impressed with his side’s performance and is confident they can get a result in Madagascar.
“We managed to deal with a very physical Kenyan side who played direct football and doing 60, 70 metre passes and for me, that was good from my team. We are building up a new side with young players and I loved their character today,” said Van Geneugden who was appointed to head the team 10 days ago.
His opposite number Stanley Okumbi was left ruing missed chances as well as fatigue with all the players having been involved in Kenyan Premier League matches over the weekend.
“Under those circumstances, we tried. It was not the best we could do, but at least we have seen what we need to do to improve. I am happy with how they played and hopefully we can build on from here,” the coach noted.
Stars had very good chances to score in the first half. In the 10th minute,Ulinzi Stars forward Sammy Onyango headed wide unmarked inside the box from a Victor Majid cross. Cavin Odongo also had a chance after being gifted with a stray back pass, but he could not find a way to shoot on target, hitting the ball over.
Okumbi made his first change before half time pulling out Bandari’s Darius Msagha who had failed to assert himself in the game and introduced Mathare’s Daniel Mwaura. Towards the close of the half, Kennedy Otieno headed over unmarked again from a Sammy Onyango pass.
In the second half, Malawi was the better side, but they could not create open chances. Their best opportunity was in the 55th minute when Simeon Singa’s shot was parried away by Patrick Matasi.