Voice of Sport

Kenya beaten in Egypt’s AFCON prep match as Ebola plays havoc with venues

Sierra Leone relocate one fixture to Lubumbashi but insist they must play Cote d’Ivoire in Abidjan as planned


KENYA on Saturday gave Egypt useful opposition in the Pharoahs’ preparation for upcoming 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers which have been hit by the fear of the Ebola disease affecting some parts of West Africa.

A hastily assembled Kenya team met Egypt in the unusual location of Aswan and fell 0-1 to a 55th minute Egyptian goal by Amar Gamal.

Egypt are set to play Senegal in a Group “G’ match in Dakar on September 5.

Switch to DRC

Elsewhere, because of Ebola, some venues have been changed. Sierra Leone, one of the countries substantially affected by the outnreak are to host their qualifier against the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Congolese city of Lubumbashi on September 10.

But Sierra Leone have said their match with Cote d’Ivoire this weekend, September 6, must take place in Abidjan.

Sierra Leone Football Association secretary general Christopher Kamara said: “As far as we are concerned, our match with Cote d’Ivoire will take place in Abidjan on September 6 at 17:00 local time. We have not received any letter stating that the match will not go ahead as planned.

Abidjan tie

“We have made plans for our players and officers to travel to Abidjan, and if in any case the Ivorian FA wants at this point in time to change the venue, we will not accept.”

The Ivorian government has stated that it would not allow their football association with the options to relocate the game or forfeit it.

The match with DRC on September 10, originally scheduled to take place in Freetown, was ordered to be played at a neutral venue by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) because of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

CAF order

The country had already suspended all football activities before CAF ordered the match to be relocated.

“We are thankful to DR Congo as we contacted them at the eleventh hour and they responded positively,” said Kamara.

Kamara told BBC Sport he was grateful to DR Congo for their support. “I’m pleased to state that we’ll host DR Congo in their country in the city of Lubumbashi. We are thankful to DR Congo as we contacted them at the eleventh hour and they responded positively.

Undergo tests

“But they gave us conditions — one of which is that all officials travelling from Sierra Leone must undergo tests for Ebola and then be certified as safe by the World Health Organisation.”

Kamara added that other nations had also been contacted as potential hosts.

“We also approached other countries such as Ghana and Morocco but they never responded, so we are making use of what is available to us.”

Consultation

According to CAF regulations, once a venue has been announced and retained by both CAF and a visiting team, the organising association can only change the venue in consultation with the visiting team.

Already a 20-man squad made up entirely of overseas-based players has been named by Leone Stars coach Jonathan Mckinstry, who is currently in the UK for both the Cote d’Ivoire and DR Congo matches.

Injury

Abdulai Bell-Baggie, of English league two side Tranmere Rovers, has been withdrawn from the squad due to injury and replaced by Sweden based Albert Kargbo.

Coach Mckinstry and the players will be travelling directly to Abidjan.

Egypt 1-0 Kenya

The opening half was a cagey, physical affair with neither side managing to stamp their authority on the game.

Hosni Abd-Rabo had a chance to test the goalkeeper Obungu in the 13th minute from a direct free-kick, but the former Strasbourg and now Ismaily midfielder could only hit the wall. Four minutes later, Khaled Kamar glanced a header wide after good work on the right flank by Hazem Emam.

An Egypt corner in the 31st minute culminated in Shawy El-Said heading just over the bar, as the spectators at the renovated Aswan Stadium began to grow restless.

Threat

Despite their lack of attacking threat, the Pharaohs were controlling possession against a Kenya side that sat back and looked to hit on the counter attack.

Towards the end of the first half, Kenya had their first chance of the game as Mieno shot high and wide, and Kamar almost gave the hosts the lead a few seconds later only to be smartly denied by the diving Obungu.

The Zamalek striker then contrived to miss two more chances in the dying moments of a poor first half, and the teams went in level at the break.

Second half

Shawky Gharib made a couple of changes at the start of the second half, with El-Shennawy replacing El-Hadary and Amr Gamal coming on for Zakareya as the home side began to attack with more urgency.

Frustration began to show in the Egyptians’ play and Kamar somehow managed to avoid a yellow card for a bad tackle in the 55th minute.

Nevertheless, Amr Gamal sent the fans into delirium less than 60 seconds later; the Al Ahly star hit a first time finish into the far corner with Obungu stranded.

Going forward

The game slowed down after the goal, and although El-Shennawy was forced into a save in the 65th minute, the Harambee Stars were offering very little going forward, opting instead to defend deep and limit Egyptian chances.

Gharib swapped El-Egeizi for Hossam Ghaly with less than half an hour to go, and Abd-Rabo duly presented the captain’s armband to the 32-year old.

Shot straight

Omar Gaber replaced the unimpressive Zakareya with 11 minutes to go, just after Kamar shot straight at Obungu from the edge of the area.

The Sofakapa stopper was on hand again four minutes later to catch Gamal’s deflected effort as both teams became increasingly stretched, and Obungu came out on top again 2 minutes from time when he pulled off a flashy save to deny Gamal for the second time, as the match came to a close.

The Pharaohs will face Senegal away from home in a week’s time; the first of their AFCON 2015 qualifying campaign.

TEAMS:

EGYPT: Essam El-Hadary (Ahmed El-Shennawy, 46′): Hazem Emam, Ahmed Okka, Shawky El-Said, Sabri Rahil, Mahmoud Trezeguet (Ahmed Fathi, 70′), Hosni Abd-Rabou, Ibrahim Abdel-Khalek (Amr Gamal, 46′), Moemen Zakareya (Omar Gaber, 79′), Hani El-Egeizi (Hossam Ghaly,  63′), Khaled Qamar

Coach –Shawky Gharib (Egypt)

KENYA: Wilson Obungu: Edwin Wafula, Charles Odette, Jackson Saleh, Aboud Omar, David Odhiambo, Humphrey Mieno, Noah Wafula, David King’atua (Vincent Omumbo, 74′), Brian Osumba (Godfrey Kataka, 63′), Jesse Were

Coach – Bobby Williamson (Scotland)

– Additional reporting by BBC Sport