By Andrew Wasike and Magdalene Mukami
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – Kenyan parliamentarians lost to their Turkish counterparts 1 to 3 on Tuesday in a friendly football match in Nairobi aimed at fostering ties between the East African nation and Turkey.
After being awarded the trophy by the Turkish Ambassador to Kenya Ahmet Cemil Miroglu, the Turkish team captain and Istanbul MP Ali Sarikaya told Anadolu Agency that in reality, no team had lost.
“We came here to boost friendship between Turkey and Kenya, to establish strong and eternal relationships between our two prominent countries. We are here after the speaker of parliament in Kenya invited us to celebrate 50 years of relations between Kenya and Turkey.”
Kenyan team midfielder and Webuye West MP Dan Sitati Wanyama told Anadolu Agency that Kenyan lawmakers were learning a lot from their Turkish visitors.
“The Turkish parliamentarians are aiding us in improving how we work by learning from us where they can and sharing policies and legislation that have worked back home with us. The match was great and even though we lost, once we go for the return match in Turkey, we will surely win,” said Wanyama.
“This match is just a bridge for us to cement Kenya-Turkey relations.”
Istanbul MP Ali Sarikaya gave his team an early lead after scoring after just five minutes of play leaving a frustrated Senator Malala Cleophas, shouting to his teammates not to stray far from their allocated defensive positions.
Urfa MP Ibrahim Yildiz scored the second goal in the 20th minute after single-handedly passing Kenyan defenders from midfield, sending the ball flying into the top right corner.
Late in the second half, MP Ali Sarikaya volleyed from 20 meters out leaving the Kenyan goalkeeper helpless and putting his team ahead by three goals.
With just minutes to the end of the game, Senator Malala Cleophas managed reduced the gap by scoring from a whopping 40 meters out on a free kick.
Turkish Ambassador Miroglu said the football match was important to link Kenyan and Turkish parliaments.
"Today none of the teams won. Today there was just one winner, it is the Turkish-Kenyan friendship,” he said.