Ulinzi Stars were made to sweat before edging out Mombasa Combined 2-1 in a friendly match played under floodlights at Bomu Stadium, Mombasa on Sunday.
The Soldiers, who have pitched camp in Mombasa for their preseason training ahead of the new season, scored through Ezekiel Okare and Elvis Nandwa with Omar Kalato scoring the hosts' consolation.
Mombasa Combined coach Abdulbasit Mohamed praised his players for giving the 2010 Kenyan Premier League champions a decent game despite training for just three days.
"I'm very proud of my boys who put up a brave fight against a well-prepared and experienced team playing in the country's top league. I'm sure if we continue training, we can beat any team in the country," said Mohamed.
Ulinzi Stars coach Dunstan Nyaudo said they were impressed by the quality of opposition.
"It is a combined team selected from many teams and has good players, so we are happy to beat them," he said.
"We want to complete our visit here with an unbeaten run," he added in reference to their clash with Bandari at Serani Sports Ground on Saturday.
The visitors looked the better side in the early exchanges and deservedly took an early lead in their second foray upfront; Okare dribbling past two Mombasa defenders before calmly placing the ball past Kasidi Omar.
However, their lead did not last long as three minutes later, Kalato restored parity with a long range drive that set the home fans into a frenzy. Both sides headed for the break on level pegging.
After a balanced second half, the match looked destined to end even but Nandwa, who was Ulinzi's top scorer last season, capitalised on a goalmouth melee to prod home the winner with a minute left.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Mombasa Sub-branch chairman Goshi Juma Alliy said the result was not a true reflection of the game where the hosts were impressive.
"Our players played their hearts out and deserved sharing the spoils but football is unpredictable and anything happens," said Alliy who revealed they will continue training for other friendly matches against top teams from the Coast.
"I hope our fans will continue supporting this team in every match the team is to play."
Alliy confirmed that Mombasa Combined will play against Bandari as well as National Super League teams Modern Coast Rangers and Coast Stima within the coming two weeks.