Seven things learnt from Harambee Stars’ obliteration of Seychelles

FOOTBALL Seven things learnt from Harambee Stars’ obliteration of Seychelles

Mark Kinyanjui 06:00 - 21.11.2023

Here are some of the things we learnt from their historic away win over Seychelles.

On Monday night, Harambee Stars put aside their disappointment of losing 2-1 to Gabon when they brushed aside Seychelles to get their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign back on track.

Stars looked comfortable throughout the game and deservedly won the match, which will have the players leaving the camp in buoyant mood after the disappointment in the opening fixture.

Here are some of the things we learnt from their historic away win over Seychelles.

Harambee Stars record biggest ever World Cup qualifying away win

For the first time in their history, Harambee Stars managed to record their biggest ever World Cup qualifying win by obliterating Seychelles 5-0, in a game that was practically a one-sided affair.

This will come as a huge milestone for the nation and will give them much needed confidence to not only win their first competitive fixture in two years, but to also do it very comfortably away from home.

Michael Olunga finds scoring touch

After six consecutive games without a goal. Michael Olunga finally ended his goalscoring drought for Kenya when he scored two goals in the opening five minutes of what proved to be a very comfortable affair for the Kenyans.

His first goal was proper centre forward play, collecting the ball from outside the area and then carrying it inside before releasing a left footed shot into the bottom corner of the net.

A good ball lofted in from Kenya’s defence was not dealt with well by the Seychelles backline with the second ball falling to Olunga who fired a shot directly at goalkeeper Carlos Simeon. The custodian parried the ball into the striker’s path and he responded by slotting in the rebound for Kenya’s second.

He should have added a couple more to his collection, but never managed to fully convert his chances, but generally, the two goals will come as a relief for him, and to at least easen the burden off his shoulders.

Masud Juma proving to be a reliable goal-getter

Masoud Juma netted a goal for Harambee Stars for the third game in a row, proving that he is finally starting to become a reliable goal getter for the side.

Since making his debut in 2017, Juma had proven to be an inconsistent player infront of goal, going several games without finding the back of the net despite huffing and puffing.

Now that he has scored three in a row, he will want to keep that momentum going when the international matches resume in March 2024.

Rooney Onyango keeps getting better and better

Rooney Onyango did not disappoint in his third cap for the Harambee Stars. He managed to score his first for the nation, and also managed to register his first assist for teammate Benson Omala.

He is quickly making the right wing position for the national team his own despite being a right back by trade. If he keeps his momentum going, then it will only be a matter of time before fans, journalists and pundits run out of superlatives to describe the Gor Mahia stalwart.

Harambee Stars can be dangerous in transitional situations

Kenya is proving that it can be dangerous in transitional situations with fast breaks on the counter attack.

Time and time again, Harambee Stars capitalised on turning over the ball quickly before finishing off Seychelles with quick passing and quick movement.

It is a tool that helped them win the game against Qatar, and should they keep perfecting the art, they could be a handful for their opponents in 2024. To add to that, they actually had some ounce of creativity in Eric Johana, who started in the attacking midfield role.

He looked decent operating the pockets by receiving the ball on the half turn, and had several situations where he tried crackers. Substitute Ayub Timbe also took men on nonchalantly, but his final ball was not crisp enough on the night.

Dennis Ng’an’ga adds quality competition at center back

Dennis Ng’ang’a will make Engin Firat not bother convincing Brian Mandela to revert his decision to take a sabbatical from the national team with his performance not just against Seychelles, but Gabon as well.

Ng’ang’a’s left foot made it easy for Stars to open up the pitch on the left side and find Masoud Juma, and the two left backs, Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma and substitute Abud Omar accurately.

He also carried the ball out from the back well and was a calming influence with his ability to organise his teammates.

He will serve as healthy competition for Joseph Okumu once the Reims defender is back from injury.

Kenya must learn to be more prolific

Although Harambee Stars beat Seychelles 5-0, you have a feeling that they should have beaten them by a bigger margin considering the amount of chances they missed.

Olunga himself had three one on one situations he should have done better with, as with Juma and Johana, who also had a couple of more chances to score.

Against higher quality opposition ahead, they will not get as many chances as they did against Seychelles, and must learn to be more ruthless.

It’s a Gor Mahia affair for Stars

Many who have a keen interest in Kenyan football will have noticed that 20-time FKF Premier League champions Gor Mahia’s fingerprints are well all over the Harambee Stars.

Michael Olunga, Anthony Akumu, Erick Otieno, Rooney Onyango, Amos Nondi and of course, Benson Omala currently play or have played for Gor Mahia before, and all had a positive impact in helping the side get such an impressive result.

Not to mention Kenneth Muguna, who remained an unused substitute for the clash but has been a starter over the last couple of fixtures.

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