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Uganda rally to deny Harambee Stars first win in World Cup qualifiers

FOOTBALL By Washington Onyango | November 11th 2021
FILE Uganda Cranes Karisa Milton (Left) tackled by Harambee Stars Duke Abuya during their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier Group E match at Nyayo national stadium on September 02, 2021. [Stafford Ondego,Standard]

Uganda Cranes rallied to draw 1-1 with Harambee Stars in their 2022 Fifa World Cup Group E qualifying match played at St Mary's Stadium, Kitende on Thursday.

Despite the local troubles facing the team’s management Football Kenya Federation (FKF), Stars captain Michael Olunga gave Kenya the lead at the hour mark before Fahad Bayo late controversial strike denied the Engin Firat led side their first win of the qualifiers.

Sports CS Amina Mohammed on Thursday disbanded the current FKF leadership and appointed a caretaker committee to oversee the operations of the local football governing body as investigations continue surrounding the misappropriation of funds.

In the process, Harambee Stars derailed Uganda Cranes’ 2022 World Cup qualifications hopes.

After the draw, Kenya are still third in the Group E standings with three points after five matches played. Uganda are second with nine points and Mali lead the log with 10 points ahead of their return leg against Rwanda today.

After a barren first half, Firat charges came out much stronger and took the lead 15 minutes after the restart through captain Olunga.

Bandari winger Hassan Abdalla was brought down by Timothy Dennis on the right flank before Tanzania based Muguna stepped up and delivered a free kick inside the box which Olunga headed past Lukwago.

But as the Kenyans thought they were heading for a famous victory over their rivals, Bayo poked home from Brian Bwire's hands in the 90th minute.

Under no pressure, Bwire had the ball inside his zone and in the process of wasting time, Fahad reacted quickly and touched the ball before Bwire could get hold of it to score the equalizer.

Kenya has now failed to beat Uganda in the past six years. The two rivals have played out to four draws in their last four meetings, with Kenya’s latest victory coming way back in 2015 when they beat Uganda 2-0 in the Senior CECAFA Challenge.

Fira’s charges who have already been eliminated from the qualifiers will now fly back to clash with the Amavubi of Rwanda in their final dead rubber match on Tuesday at Nyayo Stadium.

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