Sunday, October 14 – 7:00p.m Local time – Moi International Sports Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya will play host to the Ethiopia national football team on Sunday evening in a match that will hopefully see the Harambee make history, rather than leave them consigned to it.
The encounter, which will be the fourth of six qualifying matches in Group F of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, will pit Kenya against their East African rivals for the second time in four days.
Sebastien Migne’s side maintained their pursuit of qualifying for the continental showdown after forcing Ethiopia to a barren draw on Wednesday afternoon in Bahir Dar.
Ethiopia, with the home crowd belting out their support in full voice, started the stronger side as they threatened with pace and aggression; putting Kenya under pressure as they fashioned their first attempt from a corner in the opening minute.
The hosts once again came close to finding the target at the quarter hour mark when Gor Mahia midfielder Francis Kahata fouled Dukele Dawa, but Gatoch Panom couldn’t keep his free kick shot from 25-yards below the bar.
Amid the deafening noise of the home supporters, the Harambee stars also had their isolated moments of brilliance. Their first came in the 19th minute when Michael Olunga met Eric Johanna’s pass into the area before unleashing a venomous left footed strike; one that stung the hands of goalkeeper Samson Asefa before his defense came to the rescue.
Olunga turned provider ten minute later when he sent through Johanna Omolo, but the Belgian based midfielder sailed his shot way off the mark.
Patrick Matasi was a busy man between the sticks after the interval, as the Tusker F.C goalkeeper was forced to make acrobatic saves ten minutes after the break and midway through the second half. When the 30-year old goalkeeper was finally beaten by Dukele Dawa seven minutes to stoppage time, the goal couldn’t stand as it was flagged for offside.
Although Kenya needed a slice of good fortune, especially during the last quarter of the game when their energy levels were weaning off, the Harambee Stars still earned a richly deserved point that elevated them to top of the group.
Stars lead Group F by virtue of goal difference seeing as they are level on four points with the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia. Ghana and Sierra Leone close the group, with both teams level on three points each.
It has been a remarkable journey of recovery for the Harambee Stars, who looked doomed to make another quick exit when they registered meager returns on their 2-0 defeat away to Sierra Leone in the group opener.
The plot has however changed since the appointment of Sebastien Migne as head coach in May this year, as the Frenchman hauled back Kenya into contention with the 1-0 win over Ghana last month, and subsequent draw with Ethiopia.
Kenya have as such strengthened their grip in the group with the hard fought draw in Ethiopia, and only need a win on the return leg to book their ticket to Cameroon; seeing as FIFA look poised to maintain their suspension of Sierra Leone.
Kenya vs. Ethiopia betting predictions
From Football Kenya Limited to the Football Kenya Federation, Kenyan football has been marred with controversies aplenty over the years; perhaps the underlying reason why the national team has not taken part in a major tournament over the last fourteen years.
The current crop of Harambee Stars players, under the leadership of Victor Wanyama, however looks to have grown a thick skin, and will play their hearts out on Sunday in a match that head coach Sebastien Migne has likened to a cup final.
It also helps that the Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Sports, has waived all entrance fees for the match; one that will assuredly see the 60,000 seater Kasarani Stadium full to the brim.
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Kenya to win||-133.33 at William Hill||Place Bet|
|Total match goals under 2.5||-153.85 at William Hill||Place Bet|
Kenya and Ethiopia recent results
Ethiopia 0-0 Kenya (October 10, 2018)
Kenya 1-0 Ghana (September 8, 2018)
Ethiopia 0-0 Kenya (October 10, 2018)
Ethiopia 1-0 Kenya (September 9, 2018)
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