Harambee Stars displayed an impressive comeback on Monday night, securing a resounding 5-0 victory against Seychelles in their second World Cup qualifiers match at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Michael Olunga, who had faced criticism for a goal drought, silenced his detractors by scoring a brace.
Having suffered a 2-1 defeat to Gabon in their opening match at Stade De la Renovation in Franceville, Kenya found themselves at the bottom of Group F without a point. The team needed a win against Seychelles to reignite their World Cup aspirations.
Olunga set the tone for Kenya’s redemption, finding the net in the third minute to give his team an early 1-0 lead. Just three minutes later, he doubled the advantage, making it 2-0 within the first 10 minutes of the game.
Masud Juma, who had previously scored in the defeat to Gabon, added to Seychelles’ woes with a goal at the brink of halftime, exploiting a quick restart from a throw-in to capitalize on the Seychelles defense’s lapse.
The second half witnessed the emergence of new goal-scorers for Harambee Stars.
Rooney Onyango, the Gor Mahia sensation, marked his international debut with a thunderous shot into the net in the 62nd minute, extending Kenya’s lead to 4-0.
Benson Omalla, a fan favorite, came off the bench to further bolster Kenya’s dominance, scoring his maiden international goal in the 74th minute.
He tapped in Onyango’s close-range assist, sealing the comprehensive 5-0 victory.
In Tanzania, Ivory Coast continued their perfect start with a 2-0 away win over Gambia.
The West Africans move above Gabon to top Group F on goal difference, having beaten Seychelles 9-0 in their opener on Friday.
Christian Kouame put the Elephants ahead on the stroke of half-time before Seko Fofana made sure of the points in a match played in Dar es Salaam in the 85th minute.
With Ivory Coast top with six points and 11 goals, Kenya are up to third in the group, three points adrift of the leaders. Gabon are second also with six points but with inferior goal difference.