FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Kenya 0-0 Uganda
Nyayo International Stadium, Nairobi
The Uganda Men’s national football team, Cranes, were held to a scoreless draw away to Kenya in their opening game of the 2021 FIFA World Cup qualifiers at the Nyayo Stadium in Nirobi on Thursday, September 02.
It was a contest that neither side never looked like taking chances and it deservedly ended in a draw.
Uganda who are under new head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic barely created chances upfront with Joseph Ochaya coming closest to scoring off a thunderous drive from 35 yards.
The TP Mazembe left-back missed what was the Cranes best chance to ask questions of Kenya’s custodian Ian Otieno as he blasted over a free-kick from just outside area after Joseph Okumu had brought down Milton Karisa. Initially, the referee had pointed to the spot but his decision was overturned by his second assistant.
Uganda suffered two injury blows in the first half as captain Emmanuel Okwi and defender Halid Lwaliwa were both forced off.
For Kenya, the created more chances than Uganda but never really looked like scoring.
Lawrence Juma headed wide from a good position in the first half while Masud Juma could not apply a decent connection on Eric Johanna’s free-kick.
With star-striker Michael Olunga struggling upfront, it was Johanna who looked to take control of the game but not even his inventiveness in the middle could curb open an organised Uganda back-line.
Richard Odada produced a bit of magic as he dribbled his way into the area but his low cross could not be squeezed in by Olunga at the far post.
Olunga would get a chance late in the contest but headed weakly at Charles Lukwago in the Uganda goal.
The draw means that both side sit joint second in group E with one point, two behind early pace setter Mali who defeated Rwanda 1-0 on Wednesday.
Uganda returns to action on Monday at home to Mali at the St. Mary’s Stadium in Kitende.
For Kenya, they travel to face Rwanda in Kigali on the same day.