Kenya is a footballing nation that enjoys a very large fan base. Harambee Stars is Kenya’s national football team. It is charged with representing the country in regional as well as international matches. The football team, which is governed by Kenya Football Federation (KFF) has had both lows as well as highs. However, the following are some of the 10 most memorable moments of Kenyan Harambee Stars:
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10 Most Memorable Moments of Kenyan Harambee Stars
1. First International Tournament
Although the national team has become a household name in the country as well as regionally, it has taken the team quite a long period to achieve this. One of the most memorable achievements has to be its first international tournament which was held in Nairobi, Kenya on the 1st of May, 1926. This was a contest between Kenya and its East African neighbor, Uganda where the match ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
2. Biggest International Win
Like any other footballing nation, Kenyan Harambee Stars growth and progression has been gradual. The team has secured memorable wins and also suffered some humiliating losses. Nonetheless, the team’s biggest historical win took place on 4th October 1961. The boys in the Harambee Stars squad walloped the visiting national football team from Zanzibar 10-0.
3. First CECAFA Win
The CECAFA (Council for East and Central Africa Football Federations) Senior Challenge Cup is also the oldest football championship on the continent. This Championship pits teams from countries in East and Central Africa. During the 1975 tournament held in Zambia, Kenya managed to win the championship by beating the host country, Zambia. This was after winning in the post-match penalties 4-3 after a goalless 90 minutes.
4. Highest FIFA Ranking
The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) has the most popular football rating system. It places a national team based on its international matches or fixtures. The best performers will have played as well as won many international matches. The National team, Harambee Stars, achieved the best ranking in December 1998 by achieving the 68th position.
5. Highest ELO Ranking
ELO ranking is an alternative form of ranking used to rate national teams worldwide. Although it is not as popular as FIFA world rankings, it still holds a special place in the footballing sector. In November 1983, Kenya’s national team managed the highest ranking in its history by being placed 94th overall. This record still stands to date.
6. Won CECAFA 2013
Kenya won the prestigious CECAFA senior challenge cup in 2013. In the tournament which was held in Kenya, Harambee Stars managed to beat the other finalists, Sudan, 2-0. The last time Harambee Stars won the Cup was in 2002. The last time the national team won the tournament as a host country was in 1983.
7. Kenya VS Nigeria – 1997
Nigeria’s national football team is a force to reckon with. The team has not only won continental championships but also performed quite well in the international field. The super eagles have qualified for the World Cup as well as the Olympics severally. Therefore, it comes as no surprise for Kenya to have held the footballing giant to a 1-1 draw in 1997 during the 1998 World Cup qualifier.
8. African Cup of Nations- 1972
The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) also known as Championship of Africa (CAF) cup is the most prestigious football tournament in Africa. It brings together the top qualifiers from the 53 African countries. The 1972 championship was the eighth edition; however, this was the first time Kenya was being represented. Despite not going beyond the first round, it was a landmark achievement for the national team as well as the country.
9. Harambee Stars Victor Wanyama Joins the English Premier League
The English Premier League is one of, if not the most high profile league in the world. Many national teams pride themselves on having a team member play in the coveted league. Well, Victor Wanyama who is the current Captain of the national team joined Southampton in 2013.
10. Won East and Central Senior Challenge Cup -1967
The Gossage tournament was renamed the East and Central Senior Challenge Cup in 1967. In the first tournament held in Nairobi, Kenya, Harambee Stars won the cup by beating their arch-rivals, Uganda, in a hotly contested match. The tournament would later be renamed as the CECAFA Cup in 1973.
At the moment, the country’s national football team seems to be struggling. Apart from winning the CECAFA tournament in 2013, it has never managed to qualify for the World Cup. Furthermore, it has never won the African Cup of Nations. All in all, the 10 Most Memorable Moments of Kenyan Harambee Stars mentioned above will always bring back nostalgic recollections.