Uganda win big in Kenya qualifier
Uganda ran riot in Kenya today to triumph 5-1 and all but seal a place at the 2011 All-Africa Games football tournament. The final round, first-leg qualifying result below grey Nairobi skies ended a grim weekend for Kenya with the senior national team losing 2-1 to Sudan at the same venue in a friendly two days earlier.
A Hamisi Kizia brace and Owen Kasule, Michael Mutyaba and Emmanuel Okwi goals for the rampant visitors dwarfed Moses Arita strike for the home side, who were drawing 1-1 at half-time before being overrun in the second half.
Matches between the decades-long regional rivals Kenya and Uganda are usually close, passionate affairs and visiting coach Bobby Williamson seemed surprised by the winning margin at a chilly Nyayo National Stadium.
"I cannot say we came here expecting such a big victory margin but our objective was to win. My players did as asked and we were the better team on the day," the Scot said. "We were more organised and came with a plan. The Kenyans did not have one and even when they equalised we kept on playing our game and I'm very pleased with the result."
Kenya coach Leonard Saleh said the defeat illustrated how youth football had sunk in the East African country, where the sport has always been overshadowed by the nation's athletic successes. "We need to build a team instead of going for a quick-fix solution every time we have to play an international," he said, referring to a squad assembled less than two weeks before the fixture.
"Kenya have good individual players - Moses Arita and Kevin Kimani are the leading scorers for their national championship teams - but we do not have a team. Uganda showed us the way to go. They have been developing their team, giving them international exposure and the players did not have to do much to defeat us," he admitted.
A defensive mix-up gifted Kizia the opening goal on 31 minutes, in a match postponed by a day because of torrential rain, before Arita quickly levelled after a rare slick Kenyan move.
The Ugandans regained the lead when Kasule scored direct from a corner on 50 minutes and things began to look ominous when Mutyaba was fouled inside the penalty area. He fired the spot kick past Caleb Adola to make it 3-1 before goals from Okwi and Kizia completed the rout.
Nigeria came from behind to defeat Ghana 3-1, South Africa triumphed 2-0 over Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo edged holders Cameroon 1-0 in other first leg games while Guinea host Senegal in Conakry this weekend.
Hosts Mozambique are automatic participants in the 3-18 September tournament and Egypt and Madagascar have already secured places at finals restricted to U-23 footballers.