EGYPT DOWN KENYA: Brave Harambee Starlets fall to visitors in Rio Olympics preparations at Machakos Stadium

The Kenyan centre referee Damaris Kimani makes apoint to National Egypt team during friendly match against Kenya Starlet at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Sunday, March 1st, 2015. PHOTO/JONAH ONYANGO

Harambee Starlet’s began their 2016 Rio Olympics qualifiers on a losing note as they went down 1-0 to Egypt at Machakos Stadium.
Kenya play Botswana in the Rio Olympics next month and yesterday’s fixture was the first test for the local girls.

Egypt struck after 20 minutes through Salwa Mansour’s headed goal following captain Engy Ahmed’s cross moments after an enforced water break.

The match had started on a slow note with both teams cautious in their foray upfront. It was the visiting team that pressed forward first and got a corner kick just 10 minutes into the match, but were not able to convert.

The Egyptians piled a lot of pressure on the home side with Under-20 custodian Pauline Atieno the busier of the two goalkeepers.

Nada Nasr was a thorn in the home team’s defence executing dangerous crosses, but Atieno stood firm between the posts.

The visitors continued to pile more pressure on the home girls watched by hundreds of fans and Machakos County Tourism, Culture and Sports Executive, Faith Wathome, Football Kenya Federation head of Women football Angeline Mwikali, Secretary General Michael Esakwa and head of Competitions Doris Petra.

On 35 minutes, Christine Nafula should have done better when she got to the end of Mary Kinuthia’s cross. A minute later, the duo were at it again, combining well only to see Kinuthia’s shot got wide of target.

A second water break was given in the 40th minute to allow players to cool down. And immediately after, the Egypt almost stretched their lead when Mahira Ali hit the crossbar from a free-kick from the edge of the penalty box.

Posta Rangers head coach John Kamau took charge of the team after David Ouma, Sofapaka’s assistant coach, travelled for the continental challenge in Zimbabwe.

Five minutes into the second half, Lily Awour suffered an injury and paved way for Veronica Wafula.

Kinuthia picked out Mural Auma with a well-executed pass but Auma was not able to convert.

A minute later the home team made another substitution with Christine Nafula making way for Rebecca Akinyi. The match changed from then on with Akinyi giving the Egyptian defenders extra work.

A well-worked ball involving Akinyi and Wafula gave the visitors problems, but the Kenyan youngsters could not punish them.
Kamau made his third and final substitution sending in Caroline Anyango for Elizabeth Mwikali.

The hosts thought they had equalised 10 minutes from time when Dorcas Shikobe bundled the ball into the net after Egyptian goalkeeper, Maya El Demerdash, touched the ball from an indirect free kick.

The referee Damaris Kimani, however, ruled the ball had not rolled the full circumference from the attempt.

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