Kenya beats Angola, Botswana reach first ever ACN

Ahram Online & AFP, Saturday 26 Mar 2011

Kenya snatch a late victory over Angola, Botswana overcome Chad to reach the African Cup of Nations for the first time in their history


MacDonald Mariga scored the vital goal in Kenya's 2-1 win over Angola in their African Nations Cup Group J qualifier here on Saturday but will be forced to miss the next match after being shown a red card.

The Inter Milan midfielder, who had been cautioned earlier in the match, was sent off by the Togolese referee after he took off his shirt to celebrate his goal in the 86th minute.

Former Manchester United striker Manucho Goncalves had put Angola ahead in the 23rd minute with his solo effort, before substitute Jamal Mohammed levelled the score from a rebound four minutes into the second half.

But Mariga, who had a hand in the equalising goal, sent the big crowd into a frenzy with his hard shot from a free kick to earn Kenya its first victory in three matches.

The midfielder was however remorseful for his behaviour which earned him the card card, and a definite ban from Kenya's next match against Guinea Bissau in Nairobi in September.

"I am very disappointed to been sent off. As a professional player I should have known the result of my action. But I have learned from the mistake so that I don't repeat next time," said Mariga.

Striker Denis Oliech said Mariga's absence in the next match will affect Kenya's campaign for the 2012 finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

"The player sacrificed so much for us to beat Angola and we will definitely miss him against Guinea Bissau," the Auxerre striker said.

In Group K, a second-half goal gave Botswana a 1-0 victory over Chad - courtesy to Jerome Ramatlhakwane in the 46th minute -and a place in the ACN for the first ever time. The victory put Botswana on top of the group with 16 points, seven ahead of second-placed Malawi, who have a game in hand, with two matches remaining.

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