Kenya 4-1 Botswana (4-4 aggre.): Brave Stars undone by away goal rule


Bobby Williamson charges have been bundled out of All African Games qualifiers by ‘Baby Zebras’ despite registering a convincing victory

Kenya’s national U-23 team came close to eliminating Botswana from All African Games qualifiers after they recovered to win 4-1 but went out on away goal rule at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.

Botswana instead, went through on an away goal rule as they had won the first leg match 3-0. Gor Mahia forward Michael Olunga was in fine form scoring three goals for Kenya. His performance in the match was a clear indication that had he played in the first leg one week ago, perhaps the results would have been different for Kenya.

Olunga’s first goal came in the 20th with a fine finish and then a second in the 37th minute before completing his hat-trick in injury time. Before the first goal came, Olunga was behind most of the moves initiated by the home side. Going into the match with a huge deficit, Kenya were under illusion as to what needed to be done and it showed in their early minutes urgency.

First Michael Olunga headed the ball to Collins Shivachi, who was however, denied by the Botswana goalkeeper, who came out to deal with the danger. Kenyan forward Victor Ndinya was cautioned for diving inside the Botswana box as he went for goal and appeared to have been brought down.

The pressure by Kenya finally bore fruit in the 20th minute when Olunga scored his opening goal. Until, Olunga’s goal the visitors had not made any meaningful attacks even though they enjoyed superiority in the air. After Olunga’s goal however, things changed a bit as the visitors went on the offensive and Ian Otieno was kept busy in goal.

Omaatla Kebatho then scored the equalizer for Botswana in the 22nd minute beating the Kenyan backline to score. Kebatho looked dangerous upfront as every goal bound shot went his way. He was however, substituted before the first half ended after sustaining an injury and his place taken by Onkabetse  Makgantai.

But this happened after Olunga had put Kenya two goals ahead with a clinical finish in 37th minute. Buoyed by a slight lead, the Kenyans kept up the pressure into the second half as they got two consecutive corners as the visitors were forced to defend.

Kenyan coach Bobby Wiliamson rested John Nairuka for John Njoroge wanting fresh legs to finish the job.Njoroge paid off the faith with a 75th minute cracker. However, before that Onkabetse Makgantai had nearly scored a second goal for the visitors at the hour mark when he appeared to have sneaked between the Kenyan backline but his effort came to nothing.