Kenya’s campaign for Cameroon 2019 finals back on track after victory over Ghana

By Gilbert Wandera: Monday, September 10th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Joash Ochieng (left) of Kenya keeps an eye on Christian Atsu Twasam of Ghana during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier match at Kasarani [Courtesy]

Musa Mohamed and Michael Olunga have praised Gor Mahia defender Joash Onyango, who was sent off against Ghana, for his heroic display saying “he took one for the team”.

Kenya needed Nicholas Opoku’s own-goal to put their qualifying campaign back on the burner, but saw Onyango’s last ditch tackle outside the D-area to stop Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey from pulling the trigger.

And stand-in captain and Olunga believe it was a selfless tackle even as he was sent off being the last man between the Ghanaian and Harambee Stars goalkeeper Patrick Matasi.

“Onyango had to do what he did and we are grateful for his decision,” Mohammed said yesterday when the team received a Sh2million reward for dimming the Black Stars of Ghana.

Olunga, who plies his trade in Japan for Kashiwa Reysol put Ghana defender under pressure to turn Eric Johanna’s dicey cross past his goalkeeper.

Kenya players thank fans after the match [Courtesy]

“Joash was willing to die for the team and nobody knows what would have happened if he had not taken the action he did. Add to the fact that we were ten men makes it an even sweeter win.”

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Olunga also thanked the fans for turning up in large numbers saying it made a big difference for them.

“The group is now wide open after their win,” Olunga said ahead of the Ethiopia versus Sierra Leone match yesterday.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa rewarded the team with Sh2million.

“It is a huge motivation as we go into our next match and we can start dreaming of playing in Cameroon next year,” said stand-in captain Mohamed.

Speaking to journalists, Mwendwa praised the players for giving their best in the match and getting a positive result against a formidable opponent.

“I would like to thank the fans who turned up in large numbers as this gave the players a fantastic atmosphere and environment to perform.

“The players gave it their all and were willing to die for the team and now we are back on track in our quest for a place in the 2019 tournament,” he said.

Stars will play an international friendly match on Tuesday against Malawi at Kasarani and the federation has set Sh500 and Sh100 as gate charges.