Victor Wanyama’s second half penalty saw Kenya beat Nigeria’s last group opponents Madagascar 1-0 in an African Cup of Nations warm up match played in Paris, France.
Nigeria will play against Africa Cup of Nations debutants, Madagascar on June 30.
While Harambee Stars are returning to the Cup of Nations for the first time in 15 years, Madagascar will be making their debut in the biennial championship.
Despite the loss, head coach Nicolas Dupuis was happy with the performance of his players especially noting that it is only the first match of training before the final tournament.
His team actually had a chance to go ahead in the game in the first half but lost a penalty of their own.
“We had some mistakes which we should go and work on but overall I think we played well and the young players in the team especially gave a good account of themselves.
“We pick it up from here and hopefully we will be better in the coming friendly against DR Congo,” the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder stated.
Wanyama scored the lone goal after 62 minutes when he sent the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Ayub Timbe’s crosscut off by the arms of Jeremy Morel with the referee pointing straight to the spot.
Kenya had improved in the second half after head coach Migne brought in Erick Ouma, Michael Olunga and Joseph Okumu for Eric Johannah, John Avire and Musa Mohammed. Olunga’s arrival in attack had spiced up things for Kenya and just two minutes after coming on had a low shot skid just wide.
In the first half, it was all Madagascar with the side creating chance after chance to score.
Stars were lucky to be level at 0-0 at the break after Madagascar themselves had a penalty, but keeper Patrick Matasi came to the rescue with a powerful left arm to ensure the boys stood a chance despite a poor first half.
Off a swiftly executed counter, Madagascar were away and Metanire Romain sent Tsilavina Martin through into the box. Matasi came out to cover and in his outstretched arms brought down the lanky forward.
From the resultant penalty, the keeper made amends, leaping to is right and his strong left hand parried Carlous Andriamahitsinoro’s penalty onto the crossbar and out.
Dupuis said his team still has a lot to do especially after failing to dominate the game in the opening half.
“It is good to win for our confidence and our motivation, but we were lucky to be level after the first half. We made changes and that improved our game.
“We still have so much to go and work on and I believe we will get better,” Kenya’s coach Sebastien Migne said after the match.
Goal scorer and captain Victor Wanyama was impressed especially with the youngsters in the team and how they performed on a big stage.