Rising Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi partially attributed their yesterday’s 2-2 draw against Tanzania to lack of fair play from their opponents.
The second goal was conceded and upheld while a Stars’ defender was down injured. The Kenyans were seeking to sail to the quarter-finals in the ongoing Cecafa tournament at the Fufa Technical area Jinja, Uganda with a match to spare but Tanzania came from behind twice to force a share of spoils.
Okumbi said Tanzania’s second-half equaliser should have been disallowed as his centre half Tom Teka was down appealing for medical attention but the centre referee turned a blind eye. Prior to the match, Okumbi made two changes in his squad bringing in Nzoia Sugar centre half Brain Wepo and AFC Leopards’ striker Austin Odhiambo to replace Alvin Ochieng and John Njuguna respectively.
Odhiambo justified his inclusion in the team with the opener in the 28th minute, dribbling past his marker to slot the ball past the goalkeeper to take his tally to two in the tournament.
Tanzania levelled the scores in the 37th minutes through Andrew Simchimba’s well-struck free-kick but Kariobangi Sharks’ forward Patrick Otieno regained the lead eight minutes after the restart to open his goal account with the team. Abdul Suleiman restored parity in the 56th minute.
“The match was competitive, unlike the opener where we won without strain. However, I feel their second goal would have not stood as Teka was down injured. The referee should have stopped play to allow medics to attend to him. However, from the way Tanzanians played, they had studied our strengths and weaknesses from our first match.”
With Ethiopia on the cards in the final group stage match, Okumbi who doubles up as Wazito technical director hinted on following their match against Zanzibar which was scheduled for last evening to study their weakness. A win is all that the Kenyan boys will be seeking to book a place in the final eight.
“It is a must-win situation for us in the final group stage match and we must have a positive mentality. I am rushing to catch their encounter in a bid to study the team and see how we will capitalise on their weaknesses,” said the former Mathare United coach.
Kenya had began the championship with a 5-0 win over Zanzibar while Tanzania thrashed Ethiopia 4-0 in their opener.