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football

Kenya footballers will have to wait longer to debut at the Olympics after the team was beaten 2-0 on aggregate by Sudan in Nairobi on Tuesday in the Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations qualification.

The two teams played out to a barren draw as former Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards coach Zdravko Logarusic returned to haunt Kenya as he guided Sudan to play defensively and grounded out a barren draw.

Kenya lost 2-0 to Sudan in their first game in Khartoum last week.

Kenya needed to win by three clear goals to advance while a 2-0 score-line would have taken the game to penalties. Kenyan head coach Francis Kimanzi said Sudan was superior.

“We have a good team, but Sudan held back and killed our game. We take more positives from the match and hope to do well in the future,” said Kimanzi on Tuesday in Nairobi.

Kimanzi made five changes to his squad that played Sudan in Khartoum and lost 2-0 with goalkeeper Timothy Odhiambo starting ahead of Brian Bwire while in midfield Ibrahim Shambi partnered Sven Yidah who came in place of Teddy Osok.

In the striking force, the coach used James Kinyanjui and Piston Mutamba coming in for injured duo of Jaffary Owiti and John Avire.

But it was the visitors who came close to breaking the deadlock within the opening two minutes when some nervy defending from Johnston Omurwa gifted Sudan’s Yagoub Mohammed the ball but the striker’s low shot from the edge of the area was well collected by Odhiambo.

Kenya team, nicknamed The Emerging Stars, threw everything in attack but the composure in the final third was always wanting.

Sudan will now play the winner of Nigeria versus Libya match in the third round qualifiers next month for a place in the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations set for Egypt in November.

Only seven teams will make the cut from these qualifiers to join hosts Egypt in the final tournament scheduled for November, this year, in Cairo.

The top three teams from the Egypt finals will qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Enditem

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