By Joseph Mwangi
The Kenyan football team started on the wrong footing at the second edition of the Africa Beach Games in Hammamet, Tunisia on Tuesday evening, losing 12-1 to defending champions Senegal.
The Kenyan side was totally outclassed as Senegal talisman Mamour Diagne starred for the Teranga Sand Lions with a hattrick with Kenya’s consolation coming skipper Farid Bwana.
“It was a tough game today because we played against a very experienced team who are the African champions. We have to give them respect because they have been in this game for longer than us and they have played at the biggest stages,” said skipper Bwana.
“As a team we gave in the best we could but we were not perfect in many aspects of the game. We aim to improve this ahead of our next match,” He added
Meanwhile, the Kenyan coach Ali Kinero said the team picked lessons from the defeat.
“We have a very young squad and probably the stage fright of playing a big team got into them. But we have learnt and we take it in our stride to do better in the next match,” the coach noted.
Raoul Mendy and Diagne gave Senegal a 2-0 lead after seven minutes, the latter scoring a brilliant overhead kick after they finally settled in the game. Serigne Moctar Koite took them 3-0 at the end of the first period with another brilliant overhead kick.
Kenya’s only shot on target in the first half was via a Paul Kavula shot that was punched away by the keeper.
In the second period, Senegal were off to a good start with Diagne scoring a quick brace before Seyduna Diagne added the sixth goal.
Aswar Shamuni had a brilliant one on one chance to score Kenya’s first goal but he fluffed his lines, and the African champions launched a counter with a quick punish, Jean Alpha Diouf finding the back of the net.
Senegal continued to dominate and stretched their lead to 10-0 in the third period before skipper Bwana squeezed in a shot from the left for Kenya’s consolation.
Substitute keeper Ousseynou Faye then made it 11-1 with a speculative shot from his goal area before Diouf’s freekick from distance wrapped up the win for Senegal.
Kenya will now switch their attention to a vital second group match against neighbors Tanzania on Wednesday morning, a game they must win to keep their knockout hopes alive.