In a riveting showdown at the Al Janoub Stadium in Doha, the Kenya national men’s football team, Harambee Stars, triumphed over Qatar with a 2-1 victory in a high-octane friendly match on Thursday evening.
The winning moment came in dramatic fashion during stoppage time, courtesy of Amos Nondi.
Harambee Stars’ indomitable captain, Michael Olunga, orchestrated a dazzling breakaway, delivering a low cross that sliced across the face of Qatar’s goal.
Nondi seized the opportunity, executing a precise finish that sent the Kenyan contingent into euphoria.
Harambee Stars, under the tactical guidance of Engin Firat, showcased their commitment to the philosophy of “carpet football,” seamlessly interweaving free-flowing passes from the back throughout the match.
The towering center-back, Joseph Okumu, who recently inked a deal with Reims FC in France, propelled Kenya into the lead with a thunderous header, expertly directed from a pinpoint Kenneth Muguna corner in the 20th minute.
Qatar, undeterred, retaliated 14 minutes later from the penalty spot, capitalizing on a perceived foul committed by Harambee Stars’ left-back, Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma, inside the box.
Notably, Michael Olunga, a prominent figure in Kenyan football and currently plying his trade with Al Duhail in Qatar, had earlier come close to breaking the deadlock.
However, the host’s goalkeeper thwarted his attempt, mirroring the fate of Kenneth Muguna, who encountered a similar obstacle a few moments later.
Olunga teetered on the precipice of scoring an own goal in the 69th minute when he inadvertently deflected a cross within his own box. Fortunately, luck favoured him as the ball ricocheted off the post and remained in play.
In the realm of FIFA rankings, Qatar who hosted the 2022 World Cup stand at a commendable 59th globally, while Kenya currently occupies the 105th position.
It’s worth noting that this encounter marked the maiden meeting between these two nations on the football pitch, further underscoring the significance of Harambee Stars’ resounding victory.