Nairobi - South Africa recorded their first away win under Gordon Igesund on Tuesday night, beating Kenya 2-1 in an international friendly at the Nyayo National Stadium.
A first half goal from Tokelo Rantie had put Bafana Bafana ahead, before they were pegged back with just under 20 minutes to play by a penalty from Harambee Stars skipper Dennis Oliech.
However, an own goal from Kenya defender Christopher Wekesa soon after was enough for the visitors to claim a morale-boosting victory that goes someway to atoning for a disappointing performance in the 1-0 loss to Poland on the weekend.
Coach Gordon Igesund made three changes to the starting XI that he fielded against Poland on Friday night, with Wayne Sandilands, Thabo Nthethe and Tokelo Rantie coming into the side in place of Itumeleng Khune, Luvhengo Mungomeni and Sifiso Myeni.
Bafana created early chances for Siphiwe Tshabalala and Rantie in the 10th and 13th minutes respectively, though neither player was able to hit the target and trouble Kenyan goalkeeper Arnold Origi.
On 20 minutes South Africa surged ahead through Rantie, who finished crisply from the edge of the box after a great through ball from Lerato Chabangu had put the former Orlando Pirates striker in behind the home side’s defence.
Kenya created a good chance to equalise just a couple of minutes before half-time, but strikers Dennis Oliech and Wesley Kemboi seemed to get in each other’s way and goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands was able to smother the ball in the penalty area.
Origi made a good save five minutes into the second half, preventing Ricardo Nunes from doubling the visitors’ advantage with a low shot from the left of the box that looked destined to ripple the back of the net.
Ten minutes later substitute Dino Ndlovu almost scored with his first touch, firing a low shot off the outside of the post from close range after Kenya had failed to clear a corner kick.
In the 71st minute Tanzanian referee Charles Mbaga awarded Kenya a penalty, adjudging Bongani Khumalo to have handled a header from Kemboi in the 18-yard area. Captain Oliech took the spot kick and sent Sandilands the wrong way, making it 1-1.
Parity lasted just a few minutes before Bafana Bafana reclaimed the lead. Bernard Parker caught the Kenya defence napping and directed an effort across goal from a tight angle that was headed into his own net by defender Christopher Wekesa on 76 minutes.
Kenya (0) 1 (Oliech 73’ pen)
South Africa (1) 2 (Rantie 20’, Wekesa 76’ og)
Kenya: Origi, Asike, Kokoyo, Mandela, Wekesa, Wanyama, Osiako, Opiyo, Kahata, Oliech, Kemboi
Substitutes used: Wafula, Timbe, Monday, Arita, Situma
South Africa: Sandilands, Nthethe, Sangweni, Khumalo, Nunes, Chabangu, Furman, Dikgacoi, Tshabalala, Parker, Rantie
Substitutes used: Myeni, Ndlovu, Manyisa, Fransman