Kenya’s Harambee Stars’ dream of reaching the first Champions of African Nations (CHAN) finals ended prematurely when Tanzania’s Taifa Stars won the two-leg tie on post-match penalties at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday.
The second leg, staged at home, ended in a stalemate before Juma Kaseja saved penalties from defenders Michael Kibwage and Joash Onyango to give Tanzania a 4-1 victory.
A mixture of fielding errors and inept strategy left Kenya reeling in the opening half before a David Owino-led late revival failed to bear fruit.
Harambee Stars did nothing reminiscent of a team playing at home in the entire opening half.
Not a single shot on goal was mustered by the hosts. The only interesting occurrence was Joash Onyango winning duels against Tanzania captain and star striker John Bocco.
Taifa Stars on the other hand, cognizant of the need for away goal, played with purpose. The visitors kept John Oyemba busy and the Kenyan backline stretched.
Oyemba had to make four saves to keep Kenya in the game, thwarting Bocco three times and punching out Jonas Mkude’s free-kick.
On the other side of the pitch, senior team debutant Sydney Lokale was hardly making a case for his surprise inclusion.
He fluffed several half chances that a less-nervous striker would have made hay from. He was lucky to escape a sending off after planting a boot in Tanzania goalkeeper Juma Kaseja’s abdomen.
Sébastien Migne’s midfield of Dennis Odhiambo, Kenneth Muguna, Duke Abuya, Whyvonne Isuza and Samuel Onyango was in disarray with Muguna looking sharpest.
Muguna mustered Kenya’s first attempt after 22 minutes. The attempt, from range was high off target but it counted as the only attempt the entire half.