Kenya’s bid to advance in the ongoing African Nations Soccer Championships hit a stone wall Saturday when the national soccer team suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam.
It was and extremely early exit for Kenya, a former East African regional soccer powerhouse.
Cheered on by a mammoth crowd at the waterlogged National Stadium in the Tanzani an capital, Jerry Tegete shot the hosts into the lead in the 76th minute from Iddi Athumani and Emmanuel Gabriel’s spadework.
In the closing minutes, Naddin Haroub scored the second goal and sealing Kenya’s fate in the process.
The Kenyan side, also known as the Harambee Stars, proved no match for the hosts despite putting up a determined fight throughout the match.
Saturday’s preliminary round return match, whose kick off was delayed by 20 minutes as Dar es Salaam City Council workers pumped water out of the pitch, was a far cry from the first-leg match in Nairobi which Kenya won 1-0.
The victory saw Tanzania, who turned the tables on their neighbours, book their tickets to the first round where they will meet fellow East Africans and neighbours, Uganda.
Reacting to the defeat, a former Kenya Football Federation (KFF) secretary-general, Sammy Nyamweya, said Kenyan fans had been “reduced to professional mourners, mourning one defeat after another.”
“I even gave them (KFF) my proposal on how we can improve football standards in the country, but nobody has acted on it”, said Nyamweya.
Tanzania’s Brazil-born coach Marcio Maximo’s predication that Tanzania, who tour ed Yemen for the build-up matches, would beat Kenya came to pass.
As for Kenya’s Jacob “Ghost” Mulee, there were strong indications here late Saturday that his job was on the line.