Kenya slumped to a 3-1 defeat by Zanzibar in their opening Cecafa Under-17 Youth Championship match at Juba Stadium on Thursday.
The Zanzibaris had the evidence of having trained together and outwitted a Kenyan outfit of boys who were seeing each other only a couple days before they left Nairobi for Sudan on Monday.
Mohamed Abdulrahman Mohamed (sixth minute) and Ali Juma Hassan (21’) scored from sheer powerful running and had the Kenyan boys on the ropes before they could warm up.
However, as the game grew, the Kenyan boys, inspired by a number of them who have played Kenyan Premier League football such as David King’atwa and Daniel Mwaura, started to become competitive.
After the break, Kenya were in control of the match by the 65 minute mark, missed two great chances before they pulled one back through a penalty when the very effective King’atwa was fouled in the box. Mwaura converted for 1-2.
On relentless attacking throughout, the Kenyan defence was caught under-manned by a long Zanzibar clearance which goalie Ian Otieno had no option but to meet outside the 18-yard area.
He failed to head or kick it back and instead handled. A foul was awarded from the centre edge of the box and Nasoor Ali Omar blasted low through the legs of a poor wall to beat Otieno at the far left corner with three minutes of added time reading on the clock.