By Julia Wanjeri
Mary Kinuthia scored twice from the penalty spot as Kenya beat Uganda 4-0 in an international friendly on Sunday 3 July.
However, it was her fellow joint top-goalscorer in the ongoing Kenya Women’s Premier League, Esse Akida, who was player of the match.
Uganda were fast off the block and within the first 10 minutes looked like a team that would trouble the hosts, with Sandra Nabweteme and Naume Madadya sending in a number of shots early on. Harambee Starlets’ keeper Samantha Akinyi was unfazed.
The hosts soon found their footing and tables were turned as Neddy Atieno, Mary Kinuthia and Esse Akida clicked upfront. It wasn’t long before the unceasing pushing for a goal led to the swift Akida being brought down in the penalty box.
Mary Kinuthia stepped up and sunk the penalty home, giving the hosts a lead in the 17th minute.
Any luck for the visitors to get back into the match was gravely dampened when Crested Cranes’ keeper Fatuma Matovu was red carded for a foul against Neddy Atieno at the edge of the penalty just minutes to half-time.
Wendy Achieng blasted the free kick into the net to double Harambee Starlets’ lead as the teams went into the break.
The double tragedy of a red card and second goal coming in quick succession was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as Kenya fully dominated play from then on.
In the 53rd minute, a replica of the first goal occurred. Akida was brought down in the penalty box again. Mary Kinuthia converted the penalty to complete her brace and make it 3-0 for Harambee Starlets.
The hosts continued terrorising the visitors for minutes on end and in the 82nd minute, Akida, the player that had caused Crested Cranes the most trouble in the match, zipped past Crested Cranes’ defence to seal the 4-0 win and gift Harambee Starlets their first win in recent times.
This was Uganda’s first international match in just around five years,
That they played with 10 women for most of the game, against a side that has played a lot more matches lately, tells of a Ugandan side that, with a few more friendlies, can rise to the occasion come the inaugural Cecafa Women Tournament, which they are set to host in September.