Harambee Stars ended the 2022 World Cup qualifiers with a win after edging out Rwanda 2-1 in Monday’s last Group E match played behind closed doors at Nyayo Stadium.
Stars captain Michael Olunga and midfielder Richard Odada scored in the first half as Kenya registered their first win in the qualifiers. Oliver Niyonzima scored Rwanda’s consolation goal in the second half.
Kenya headed into the match behind their 1-1 draw against Uganda Cranes last week on Thursday, the same day Rwanda lost 1-0 to leaders Mali.
With both teams having being lost the chance to advance into the last phase of the qualifiers, they were playing just for pride.
And after 90 minutes, it was Kenya who had the last laugh and putting a smile on the face of Turkish coach Engin Firat, who is expected to leave his role with the expiry of his two-month contract.
The win sees Kenya finish third in Group E standings after six-matches with six points. Rwanda are last on the log without a win and with one point they registered when they drew 1-1 with Kenya during the first leg.
Mali qualified to the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers after finishing top with 16 points. Uganda Cranes are second with nine points.
Kenya started on the front foot at the Nyayo Stadium match after going ahead inside the opening three minutes of the match.
Erick Oumas’ cross from the left wing found an unmarked Abdallah Hassan in the box, who headed the ball into Olunga’s path for a simple tap-in to give Kenya an early 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Ouma combined with Hassan, but the Bandari winger failed to find Olunga with a low cross, which was cleared by the Rwandan defense.
Playing as a winger, Sweden-based full back Ouma continued to terrorise the Rwandan defense after finding Olunga unmarked in the box, who forced Rwandan goalkeeper Fiacre Ntwali into making a fine save that resulted into a fruitless corner.
Stars’ early resilience and attack was rewarded again in the 13th minute when the centre referee pointed to the spot after Rwanda goalkeeper Ntwali brought down a surging Ouma inside the box.
Midfielder Richard Odada stepped up to score his first international goal for Kenya as the hosts went 2-0 inside the opening 15 minutes.
In the second half, Rwanda was the better side after dominating the last 45 minutes before they scored in the 66th minute through Oliver Niyonzima.
Speaking after the match, Olunga said they are happy with the win and can only work towards getting better in future assignments.
2022 World 7s: Kenya Sevens To Face USA In Dubai 7s Opener At 9am
Kenya Sevens are going to be hoping to come out in the 2022 World 7s Series season on a high note as they play USA at the Dubai Sevens on Friday from 9am East African time.
The World Sevens Series will commence with 12 teams set to require part within the Dubai opening leg tournament slated for Sevens Stadium.
Core sides New Zealand, Samoa are still missing while England, Wales, and Scotland will play the primary two tournaments as Great Britain. Fiji, Australia, and France are back after missing the shortened 2021 Series.
After facing USA within the morning, Shujaa will then face Argentina at 1:30 PM and their final match are at 4:02 PM against Spain as they seek to duplicate the 2021 performance that saw them achieve a podium finish within the shortened series.
The team finished third overall within the abridged 2021 Sevens playoff in Canada, reaching the final where they lost to African nation before securing a 3rd place finish at the second leg in Edmonton.
Olympic Gold Medalist Fiji return after missing the 2021 World 7s Series and are pooled alongside returning Australia, Canada and France.
The final Pool has 2021 Series Champions Republic of South Africa who will tackle Ireland, Great Britain and Japan, who were promoted as HSBC World Rugby Challenger Series champions in 2020.
Great Britain will participate within the opening two rounds of the Series in Dubai, as a part of the standing agreement to play the year 2021, before reverting to compete as national unions for the rest of the 2022 Series, with England, Scotland and Wales participating within the men’s Series and England within the women’s series.
The 16 men’s core teams after the Dubai events are Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, Republic of South Africa, Spain, USA and Wales.
The 11 core women’s teams after the Dubai events are Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and USA.
Two men’s and one women’s teams are going to be relegated from the 2022 Series, to make sure a pathway for teams to be promoted from the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series.
Dubai 7s Fixtures
Kenya vs USA-9am
Kenya vs Argentina-1.30pm
Kenya vs Spain-4pm
Kipchoge Among Five Finalists For 2021 Male World Athlete Of The Year
Marathon world record holder and two-time Olympic Champion Eliud Kipchoge is among five finalists for the 2021 Male World Athlete of the Year.
On Monday evening, World Athletics announced the five male athletes, who are representing five different countries.
Kipchoge was named Male Athlete of the Year for two years in a row; in 2018, after setting the 2:01:39 World Record and in 2019 when he entered into the annals of history as the only human being to run under two hours in a marathon at the INEOS 1:59 challenge in Vienna.
He timed 1:59:40.
According to World Athletics, the male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced at the WA Awards 2021, which will take place virtually on December 1.
World Athletics also named 5000m Olympic champion and world record holder (in both 5000m and 10,000m) Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda.
Cheptegei also won 10,000m silver for his country at the Tokyo Olympics. He also recorded a world-leading 8:09.55 for two miles.
Pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis of Sweden who was named Male Athlete of 2020 has also been named as a 2021 finalist. He is an Olympic, Diamond League and European indoor pole vault champion.
“The five athletes, who represent five countries from three area associations, have produced some exceptional performances across a range of athletics disciplines in 2021, at the Tokyo Olympic Games, one-day meeting circuits and other events around the world,” WA said in a statement.
Other finalists are US shot put athlete Ryan Crouser, also an Olympic champion, and Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who won 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“The World Athletics Council and the World Athletics Family cast their votes by email, while fans voted online via the World Athletics social media platforms.
“The World Athletics Council’s vote counted for 50% of the result, while the World Athletics Family’s votes and the public votes each counted for 25% of the final result. Voting closed on 6 November,” WA said.