Sredojevic: Zambia deserved a draw against Kenya if ‘we had VAR’

The friendly meeting was the first between the two sides since they met five years ago in an Afcon qualifier

Zambia coach Milutin Sredojevic has bemoaned the defeat to Kenya by stating they deserved to get a draw if there was VAR (Video Assistant Referee) in place.

The visiting Chipolopolo side thought they had snatched a draw in the last minutes of the match but the goal was ruled out for not ‘closing the line’, something the Serbian coach could not agree to.

“If you ask me, that was a goal, a clear goal, because it closed the line, it was a last-minute incidence and I think if we had the VAR, it could have helped a lot, that was a clear goal,” Sredojevic told Goal after the match,

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On conceding two goals against a hard-fighting Kenyan side, Sredojevic blamed his charges for their failure to defend counter-attacks.

“Kenya are a good team, and we knew they will trouble us but we also gave them too much space and could not defend counter-attacks, it worked against us, we conceded goals we should have defended had we played as a team.”

On his part, Kenya coach Francis Kimanzi praised his charges for a spirited effort theat saw them come out winners despite most of the players playing for the first time since football was prematurely stopped in the country in mid-March owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We played a very good first half, we controlled the game well and took them head-on,” Kimanzi told Goal. “But in the second period, our performance dropped, we did not play as we did in the first half, and it really affected my players.

“But overall, it was a good display from my players, most of them have been out in the cold for a very long time but they managed to pull out a win, it is good for us and it gives us the spirit to fight again in next matches.”

Cliff Nyakeya’s strike and an own goal by Tandi Mwape handed Francis Kimanzi’s side the victory while a late goal by Emmanuel Chabula denied the East Africans a home clean sheet.

Kenya surprisingly started as the hungrier and dominant side and almost got the opener in the ninth minute through Brian Mandela, whose effort went wide despite being in a good position to finish off with a goal.

Persistent pressure on the visitors earned Kenya an opener in the 23rd minute when Mwape turned the ball into his own net. The teams broke for a water break to cool down after playing for almost half an hour under the hot Nairobi weather.

Kings Kangwa and Sakala again failed to score for Zambia after they squandered their 30th and 33rd-minute chances, respectively.

Kenya doubled the lead in the 39th minute when FC Masr’s forward Nyakeya fired a clinical strike that Sebastian Mwange had little chance of stopping.

Zambia came for the friendly seen as the stronger side having already engaged Malawi on Wednesday and picked up a 1-0 win. Their players were also thought to be much fitter having been in action in the previous months unlike the Kenyans, who before the match, had just trained for three days.

History also tipped Chipolopolo for victory as the Harambee Stars have mostly faltered whenever they met the Cosafa member.

The last time the two teams met – at Nyayo Stadium five years ago – they drew 1-1 in an Afcon qualifier.

Zambia will travel to South Africa for more friendlies against Bafana Bafana, Orlando Pirates, and Mamelodi Sundowns. Kenya are yet to confirm whether another encounter has been organised.

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