- The Kenya international custodian Patrick Matasi believes lack of experience cost Harambee Stars in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt. He reveals that being the first time for the players was a disadvantage.
Stars were placed in Group C alongside eventual winners Algeria, finalists Senegal, and the neighbors Tanzania. The custodian reveals preparations for Africa’s elite competition were on top-notch but being first timers played a part in their struggles.
“The preparations ahead of the qualification matches for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals were always top-notch right from our first match against Sierra Leone. We did our best despite this being our first time in the tournament. The lack of experience was a big factor but now we have learned and we believe it will better next time,” Matasi said.
“This was a good opportunity for us and it helped expose a lot of our players and with it several opportunities,” he added.
Stars beat Taifa Stars of Tanzania to finish third but lost to the winner and the finalist Algeria and Senegal respectively.
The 32-year-old has also explained how life was after he joined the Ethiopian top-flight side, St George, in 2018 from Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Tusker FC.
“The first season was tough as I had to live in a camp where the food was predictable,” Matasi recalls.
“I have now moved into my own house and it allows me to sample different dishes,” he added.
“On the pitch, I had a not so good first leg in the first season conceding 11 goals. The second leg was better with only two goals conceded. I was looking to do even better this season but it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic,” the Kenya number one stopper concluded.
The experienced custodian is regarded as current Harambee Stars’ first choice but is facing stiff competition from Zambia based custodian Ian Otieno who has played against Egypt and Togo respectively after Matasi sustained an injury.