Egyptian based winger Cliff Nyakeya proved why he should be a regular in Harambee Stars squad with a man-of-the-match performance as Kenya ended their winless run over Zambia.
It has been nearly two decades since Kenya beat Zambia’s Chipolopolo but they stopped that run with a 2-1 victory at Nyayo National Stadium yesterday.
Nyakeya was involved in both goals that gave Harambee Stars a comfortable 2-0 halftime lead in an international friendly match played behind closed doors.
The performance will forever remain etched in the memory of the former Mathare United player who was only six years old the last time Kenya beat Zambia (1-0) in 2001.
It was a battle of tactics between Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi and his Zambian counterpart Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic.
Both teams were using the fixture to prepare for next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Kenya will battle it out with Comoros in a two-legged Group G encounter while Zambia will face off with Botswana in Group H ties.
While Micho deployed an attacking style, Kimanzi’s men resorted to sit-back and counter-attacked on most of the occasions in a fixture that he handed debuts to KCB fullback Baraka Badi and his Barnsley counterpart Clarke Oduor.
Chipolopolo threatened first in the second minute but Mathare United left back David Owino did well to stop Chilongoshi Zacharia from connecting a cross from the right flank.
Moments later, Masoud Juma earned Kenya their first corner in the fourth minute, but nothing came out of it before the JS Kabylie forward missed a sitter.
The visitors responded immediately, but Fashion Sakala’s effort was twice blocked by a resolute Stars defence.
Sakala could have given the former African champions the lead in the tenth minute, but the K.O Oostende striker’s effort went wide following a defensive mix up from Kenya.
Lubambo Musonda then beat Owino on the right flank before ballooning his effort.
However, Zambia were punished for their profligacy in the 21st minute when Tandi scored into his own net while trying to clear Nyakeya’s cut-back from the right wing.
Nyakeya pounced on an incisive pass from Kenneth Muguna then beat his marker before delivering a cross in the box that was accidentally redirected into the net by Tande.
Kenya gained confidence after scoring and started dominating possession. But Micho’s boys almost drew level in the 28th minute but Joash Onyango made a brilliant block to stop Kangwa Kings’ goal bound effort at the edge of the box.
Nyakeya then combined again with Muguna to secure his second goal of the evening in the 35th minute.
The Gor Mahia captain released the Masr winger through and he made no mistake to unleash a thunderbolt that flew past hapless Chipolopolo goalkeeper Mwange Sebastian.
Sakala had a chance to pull a goal back for Zambia on the stroke of halftime but he blasted his attempt wide.
The visitors came back into the second half a more rejuvenated side pilling pressure on their hosts’ backline with Sakala missing to clear chances in succession.
Siame Lameck then saw his effort at edge of the box wide before Kimanzi made his first substitution by bringing on Timothy Otieno for Eric Johanna in the 58th minute.
Kelvin Kapumbu got his name on the score sheet in the 81st minute when he rose above his markers to head home a perfectly weighted cross from Kings.
The visitors thought they had snatched a late equaliser three minutes later only for the goal to be chalked off in unclear circumstances.