National team Harambee Stars dashed numerous punters’ high hopes after losing 0-1 to minnows South Sudan in a home friendly on Tuesday afternoon. The Stars went into the game with much hype having edged Qatar 2-1 in an earlier friendly.
Following the away win to Qatar, Kenyan FA president Nick Mwendwa claimed that they are ‘returning Kenya’s game where it belongs.’ In the South Sudan build-up, he even posted a clip showing the country’s president urging Kenyans to show up and support the team. On top of that, an impressive diaspora show-up of fans made Tuesday’s duel widely anticipated.
Stars Aligned for Harambee
With so many positives going for the Engin Firat-coached side, most Kenyans were assured of a Harambee Stars’ win. The same went for punters who did not need much analysis to call a win for the home side.
However, it was a disappointing start as the home side conceded immediately after kickoff. Tito Kello scored in the second minute to shock fans who had turned out for the 4 p.m. fixture at Kasarani Stadium. However, hopes of a Stars’ comeback remained high. The goal was viewed by many – in the stadium and online- as a little blip that would be overcome in the course of 90 minutes.
Sadly, this was not to be. The early goal handed Sudan a win at the final whistle. This was their first victory for South Sudan against Harambee Stars. Kenya sits 62 positions above their Tuesday rivals (105 vs. 167) in the FIFA World Rankings.
Local punters are always sceptical about betting on the Stars. However, the fanfare and nature of the game convinced some to bet on the team on Tuesday. This was also a patriotic show of sorts.
Tuesday’s friendly match result will dent fans’ belief in the team ahead of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Stars travel to Gabon on 13th November and Seychelles on 20th November for the opening matches of the 2026 Canada-Mexico-USA World Cup.