Kenya will need nothing short of at least three clear goals to eliminate Sudan when the two face-off in the return leg of their 2019 Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations/Olympics qualifier second round match at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Tuesday.
A comical mistake from Kenya goalkeeper Brian Bwire and a controversial penalty in the second half handed the hosts a 2-0 advantage in the first leg staged at Al Merreikh Stadium in Omdurman, on Wednesday.
Waleed Bakhit latched onto a loose ball to open the scoring on 32 minutes after Kariobangi Sharks custodian Bwire awkwardly spilt a feeble cross from the right flank.
Bakhit doubled Sudan’s lead on 75 minutes from a penalty spot after Sofapaka’s John Avirre was adjudged to have fouled the Sudanese player inside the box.
The result leaves Kenya coach Francis Kimanzi with a tall order to post a score line of three or more goals against the Sudanese to progress to the third round.
“The whole team fought hard the entire 90 minutes but luck was not on our side,” Kenya defender Michael Kibwage told Nation Sport on Thursday.
“We are positive to capitalise on home advantage and win the return leg to qualify,” added the 21-year-old KCB centre-half.
The aggregate winner o will face either Libya or Nigeria in the final round in June.
Libya shocked Nigeria 2-0 in their first leg match in Tunisia on Wednesday. Kimanzi’s boys will feel “robbed” in the hot conditions of Khartoum on the night with a dubious penalty.
Interestingly, replays from the match beamed on Sudan Sport TV, showed the Sudanese player easily went down outside the 18-yard box seemingly fouled by John Avirre, but the second assistant referee, Egyptian Hany Abelfattah ruled a penalty.
A bizarre incident the occurred three minutes into added time when a Sudanese fan stormed into the field of play and took a selfie with one of the home players much to the chagrin of the match officials before he was whisked away by security.
Kenya eliminated Mauritius 8-1 on aggregate while Zdravko Logarusic’s Sudan saw off Seychelles 2-1 on aggregate in the first round.
Seven teams from the qualifiers will join hosts Egypt in the final tournament scheduled for November this year in Cairo.
The top three teams will qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics men’s football tournament in Tokyo. Kenya has never qualified for the Olympics football tournament.