Uganda survived a sustained second half onslaught from Kenya as the Cranes and Harambee Stars played out a pulsating 1-1 draw at Moi International Stadium, Kasarani last evening.
Emmanuel Okwi, skipper of the day, scored for Uganda on 23 minutes in a half the Cranes fairly controlled but the hosts turned it on after the break and duly leveled on 51 minutes through Kenneth Muguna.
Coaches Abdallah Mubiru of Uganda and Francis Kimanzi of Kenya were using this game to prepare for their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying ties against Burkina Faso and Malawi, and Egypt and Togo respectively in November.
The Cranes were also tuning up for their double-legged Chan 2020 qualifier against Burundi in a fortnight and next month.
Starting with five players from the Uganda Premier League (UPL) including Allan Okello, John Revita, Paul Willa, Mustafa Kizza, and Charles Lukwago in goal, the Cranes looked at home on the ball in the first half.
Khalid Aucho patrolled the middle with Taddeo Lwanga while Kizito Luwagga and Okwi wreaked havoc upfront.
One of those moves saw Luwagga beat his men on the left, dancing into the area and sliding a no-look pass to Okwi, who sent Kenya’s Joash Onyango to the cleaners before turning another and slotting home into the bottom corner on 23 minutes.
But the Kenyans returned from half time a different animal, scorer Muguna and Whyvonne Isuza playing Aucho out of the game.
And when they got the equalizer came on 51 minutes, it was as good as Uganda’s opener; Kenya’s marauding left back Eric Ouma winning possession and releasing Ayub Timbe, who beat his men on the left to lay on for Muguna.
Kenya’s jersey 7, Timbe, was at times unplayable, and it twice took the upright, and countless Lukwago’s match-saving saves to keep Michael Olunga and Kenya from scoring the winner.
International friendly result
Kenya 1-1 Uganda
Chan 2020 qualifier
September 20: Burundi vs Uganda
October 18: Uganda vs Burundi
2021 Afcon qualifying fixtures
Burkina Faso vs Uganda
Uganda vs Malawi
Emmanuel Okwi (cpt)