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Rupia’s first Harambee Stars goal sinks South Sudan at Nyayo Stadium

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | March 14th 2021
Harambee Stars’ Elvis Rupia kicks the ball to score past South Sudan’s goalkeeper Majak Maling at Nyayo National Stadium. [Photo: Jonah Onyango, The Standard]

AFC Leopards' striker Elvis Rupia scored the winner on his Harambee Stars debut as the national team laboured to beat South Sudan 1-0 in Saturday’s international friendly match at Nyayo National Stadium.

It is a game that saw coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee also hand debuts to Bidco United goalkeeper Adisa Omar, Bandari midfielder Danson Chetambi, AFC Leopards’ Collins Sichenje, KCB defender Nahashon Alambi, Kariobangi Sharks’ Bonface Onyango and Tusker teenage sensation Henry Meja.

Meja replaced Rupia in the 78th minute less than two minutes after his FKF Premier League golden boot rival had volleyed home from close range after Danson Chetambe's perfect delivery from the right flank.

Both teams were using the fixture as part of their preparation for the upcoming 2021 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers.

While Kenya are scheduled to host joint Group G leaders Egypt on March 22 in Nairobi before travelling to Togo on March 29, South Sudan are set to clash with Malawi (March 22) and Burkina Faso (March 29) in Group B matches.

But prior to their final two group matches, Harambee Stars, composed of the local-based players, will take on their Tanzanian counterparts in back-to-back build up games tomorrow and Thursday in the Kenyan capital city.

Harambee Stars celebrate their victory against Bright Stars of Sudan during a friendly match at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday, March 13, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, The Standard]

South Sudan started off the brighter side in a game that had few clear cut chances. Gor Mahia striker Tito Okello tried to race past Alambi in the box down the left flank, but the KCB defender intercepted the ball for a fruitless corner.

Kenya responded immediately but David Owino’s header from Barakja Badi’s cross went off the target.

Kenya came close in the 19th minute but Bandari winger Hassan Abdalla and Rupia spurned their opportunities.

Okello then forced a save from Adisa before Makuch Wol blasted wide Rahan Angier’s delivery before Abdalla’s effort missed the target by inches on the opposite end.

Abdalla once again missed another golden opportunity in the 68th minute before Rupia broke the deadlock ten minutes later.

Kenya v South Sudan line ups:

Harambee Stars: Adisa Omar (GK), Bonface Onyango, Johnstone Omurwa, Nahashon Alembi, Baraka Badi, Collins Sichenje, Danson Chetambe, Abdalla Hassan, John Macharia, David Owino, Elvis Rupia

Subs: Joseph Okoth (GK), Mike Kibwage, Daniel Sakari, Harun Mwale, Kenneth Muguna, Kevin Simiyu

James Mazembe, Kevin Kimani, Musa Masika, Oliver Maloba, Reagan Otieno, Kevin Kimani, Henry Meja

South Sudan: Majak Mawith (GK) Peter Mabok, Mutwakil Youm, Rehan Kur, Omot Okuer, Jackson Morgan, Stephen Deng, Johnson Wande, Tito Okello, Joseph Muyang, Makuch Wol

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