2026 World Cup: Harambee Stars hold African Champions Ivory Coast in Qualifier


Kenya’s national football team Harambee Stars put up a spirited performance to hold the African champions Ivory Coast to a 0-0 draw in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Lilongwe, Malawi on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

Kenya managed a shot on target from a free-kick and a long-range effort by captain Michael Olunga, while Ivory Coast had a couple of wide shots, frustrated by Harambee Stars’ defense.

The first half ended with a free-kick save by Kenya Police custodian Patrick Matasi just before the break.

In the 71st minute, Kenya’s best chance came when Olunga’s shot was cleared off the line. Later, Olunga’s pressured shot in the 82nd minute was saved by Fofana. Ivory Coast’s Diakite hit the crossbar in the 84th minute, leading to a tense finish as Kenya’s defense stood firm to secure the draw. Despite Ivory Coast’s late pressure, the match ended goalless.

This draw marked only the fourth time in 19 matches that Kenya has avoided defeat against a reigning African champion. Following a 1-1 draw with Burundi, this result was a positive response for the Harambee Stars, who managed to hold the African champions, previously unbeaten in the qualifiers.

Kenya now sits third in their group with five points from four matches. Their next phase of qualifiers will be in March 2025.

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