Cliff Nyakeya Shines as Kenya’s Harambee Stars Edge out Zambia

It was a spiffing moment for Harambee Stars as they defeated arch rivals Chipolopolo 2-1 in an international friendly on October 9.

Football action resumed in Kenya, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as the newly revamped Nyayo stadium hosted two giants battling it out in an international friendly which was played behind closed doors.

The former Mathare United player, Cliff Nyakeya provided a man of the match performance, giving the visitors a run for their money and causing chaos in Zambia’s own half for the better part.

Nyakeya played a vital role in both goals that gave the hosts a comfortable 2-0 halftime lead. This ended the near two-decade drought of a win over Zambia’s Chipolopolo as the last time Kenya edged out Zambia (1-0) was in 2001.

It was a game of chess between the two opposing coaches, Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi and his counterpart Milutin Sredojevic, who looked to match each other in terms of tactics and strategies.

Zambia started off as the brighter side, giving the hosts quite a scare within the first few minutes but it was the latter who pulled out a two goal lead from Mwape Tandi’s own goal and Cliff Nyakeya’s thunderbolt.

The combination of Gor Mahia captain, Kenneth Muguna and Cliff Nyakeya worked to devastating effects disrupting Zambia’s midfield as well as providing the second goal.

Zambia came back to equalize during the restart, with Emmanuel Chabula netting the ball. Anthony Akumu’s midfield prowess relatively managed the pressure from the visitors who grew hungrier as the second stanza wore on. 

The visitors almost salvaged a draw but their goal was disallowed when replays showed the ball had crossed the goal-line.

Kenya’s abysmal record against Zambia has seen the former pull out only six wins and seven draws from their previous 37 matches. This win will give Harambee Stars much needed momentum as they prepare for next month’s 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Kenya will battle it out with Comoros in Group G ties as Zambia will face off with Botswana in a two-legged Group H encounter.

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