Stars cruise over Harambee Kilimanjaro Stars striker Gaudence Mwaikimba (left), is congratulated by team mates Stephano Mwasika (right), Mohamed Banka, Mrisho Ngasa and Nurdin Bakari after scoring against Harambee Stars of Kenya in a friendly match at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday. Kilimanjaro won 1-0. (Photo by Yusuf Badi)
By ABDALLAH MSUYA, 23rd November 2010 @ 12:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 210
MAINLAND soccer team, Kilimanjaro Stars, picked up a confidence-boosting victory ahead of the forthcoming CECAFA Tusker Senior Challenge Cup, edging Kenya’s Harambee Stars 1-0 in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.
Gaudence Mwaikimba, making his return to the national team after nearly three-years, netted barely two minutes into the game and as both sides struggled to create meaningful opportunities throughout, the goal settled the average international encounter at the Uhuru Stadium.
Jan Poulsen, as expected, handed Mwaikimba his firstteam start from the off while, and the towering hit-man paid the Danish’s faith with a fast goal when he made a good ran into the box to connect Mrisho Ngasa’s low cross into the rooftop.
The goal sparked wild celebrations among home supporters, who cheered every Mwaikimba’s touch during his 45-minutes cameo.
Unfortunately, that was the only positive thing from the home team in the opening half, with its engine room led by Shaaban Nditi and Nurdin Bakari, occasionally supported by Mohamed Banka who was operating from unusual right side, failing to drive the Stars forward.
Harambee Stars, on the other hand, were quick to come into the picture after conceding early in the game, and Osborne Monday and co. took control of the midfield.
George Odhiambo skipped Kili Stars’ skipper, Shadrack Nsajigwa on the right flank after seven minutes and curled a nice ball into the near post, but goalkeeper Juma Kaseja was alert and made a timely dive to collect the ball just before it crossed the line.
Kenya went even closer three minutes later, when Fred Ojwang hit the crossbar with a powerful header off a Kevin Omondi’s corner kick.
The visitors kept prodding for the equaliser, and wasted another chance in the 23rd minute.
Kilimanjaro Stars left back, Stephano Mwasika lost the ball to Ojwang just outside the 18-yard area, the Harambee Stars man raced into the box only to see his low drive coolly saved by Kaseja.
Kenya head coach, Jacob Mulee, made his first change four minutes before the breather, introducing Joshua Oyoo in place of Omondi.
With a below par performance in the opening 45-minutes, it came as no surprise to see Poulsen shuffle his pack at the interval, with an overhaul change that saw six starters rested to give way for new blood.
Haruna Shamte, Kelvin Yondan, Henry Joseph, Jabir Aziz, Salum Machaku, and teenager Thomas Ulimwengu entered the fray, with Nsajigwa, Erasto Nyoni, Nditi,Bakari, Mwaikimba and Idrisa Rajabu coming off.
The changes rejuvenated Kilimanjaro Stars who started to look something resembling an International side.
The second was in fact more lively with the home boys commanding the proceedings but Ulimwengu and a 71st minute introduction John Boko still could not extend Stars lead.
Kenya’s second half substitute George Owino found the back of the net with a good header in the 76th minute, only to find that he had been flagged offside.
The game ended one nil on favour of the hosts, but Poulsen knows he still ahs work to do turn Kilimanjaro into a force capable of challenging for the coveted Challenge Cup, when the kick start their campaign this Saturday.
Kilimanjaro Stars will play invitees Zambia’s Chipolopolo in the opening match of the 2010 Tusker Challenge Cup on Saturday at the National Stadium.
Starting lineup: Kilimanjaro Stars: Juma Kaseja, Shadrack Nsajigwa, Stephano Mwasika, Erasto Nyoni, Juma Nyoso, Shaaban Nditi, Mohamed Banka, Nurdin Bakari, Gaudence
Mwaikimba, Mrisho Ngasa, Idrisa Rajabu.
Harambee Stars: Wilson Obungu, Ibrahim Shikanda, Christopher Ndetto, Jmaes Situma, Stephen Ocholla, Osborne Monday, Kevin Omondi, Fred Ajwang, George Odhiambo, John Baraza.
NB: Not the news in Kenya's media! hahah