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Harambee Stars stun World Cup hosts Qatar

 Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga in action against Qatar.[FKF]

Amos Nondi came off the bench to score a late winner as Harambee Stars stunned World Cup hosts Qatar 2-1 in an international friendly match played at a Kenyan packed Al-Janoubi Stadium on Thursday evening.

France-based defender Joseph Okumu gave Kenya the lead in the 20th minute after heading home Kenneth Muguna’s corner set piece into the net.

The hosts would rally to restore parity through a penalty by Hassan Al Haydos who sent the ball past a helpless Byrne Odhiambo in goal.

The penalty was awarded after the referee found Eric Ouma culpable of fouling Yousuf Abdurisag inside the box. The game headed to the break tied 1-1.

In the final half, it took 45 minutes and added time for Kenya to pull a shocker as second half substitute Amos Nondi tapped the ball into an empty net after being released by captain Michael Olunga.

Left-back Ouma redeemed himself after conceding the earlier penalty after his long ball pass was received well by Olunga who from the left wing squeezed a delightful ball to Nondi to bury the winner for Kenya.

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat who has been under fire for his mixed results with the national team celebrated the win with a majestic leap, fist pump, and a yell, perhaps a sign of relief for the Turk.

Kenya is using the international friendlies as preparations ahead of their 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Kenya have been drawn into a tricky Group F alongside Seychelles, Burundi, Gambia, Gabon, and Côte d’Ivoire. Stars will kick off their qualifiers campaign away to Gabon and Seychelles on November 13-21.

The group winners will automatically earn a ticket to the global showpiece with the four best runners-up from the groups advancing to the CAF play-off tournament, whose winners will also grab a spot in the tournament to be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

After their win against Qatar, Stars will return to Nairobi for another friendly against South Sudan on September 12. 

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