Spectacular Harambee Stars whitewash Seychelles to boost WCQ hopes
Harambee Stars were spectacular in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying match as they dispatched Seychelles 5-0 in Ivory Coast on Monday, November 20, 2023.
This is a huge boost for Kenya, who were defeated 2-1 in their Group F's opening match by Gabon. The huge win against Seychelles took the East Africans from the bottom to the third position, just below the Elephants, who are leading, and second-placed Gabon.
Brace for Olunga
Meanwhile, it was a good day for Michael Olunga, who has been finding it hard to score a goal for the national side, as the Al Duhail striker managed a brace at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan. Masoud Juma, who was also on target against Gabon, scored, as did Rooney Onyango and Benson Omala.
Olunga opened the score in the third minute when Seychelles were let down by poor communication in their defense zone. The Kenyan captain collected a poor pass to slot home before adding his second almost instantly in the sixth minute.
After initially keeping away Olunga's shot, Seychelles goalkeeper Carlos Simeon was unable to block the second attempt by the Harambee Stars forward. Simeon parried the ball on Olunga's way, and the former Gor Mahia striker managed to beat his opponent by finding the back of the net with the rebound.
In the 26th minute, Olunga had a chance to make it 3-0 for Kenya and for his hattrick but was unable to turn a spectacular pass from Juma into a goal.
The two goals are a huge boost for Olunga's confidence, having had to deal with criticism for failing to score for Harambee Stars while regularly turning out spectacularly for Al Duhail in Qatar.
Harambee Stars extended the lead in the third minute of added time before the half-time break when Juma scored his second goal in the qualifiers. Juma, after he was spotted by Eric Johanna with a superb throw-in, managed a low shot that went past Simeone.
Onyango, Omala shine
Onyango, who has earned head coach Engin Firat's applause since he featured against Russia in a friendly game, scored the fourth for Kenya in the 63rd minute. In a spectacular move, the Gor Mahia forward beat the Seychelles goalkeeper for his maiden Harambee Stars goal.
Onyango then provided the assist for the fifth goal when he set his club teammate, Benson Omala, through on goal. Omala came close to scoring the sixth, but he was stopped by the raised offside flag after he was put through by Juma.
The Gor Mahia forward, the leading Football Kenya Federation Premier League top scorer, was introduced in the second half and had an impact in a game that Kenya had to win to keep their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup alive.