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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Individual mistakes denied Kenya Round of 16 spot – Patrick Matasi

2:41 PM MYT 04/07/2019
Patrick Matasi of Kenya and Harambee Stars.
Keeper Patrick Matasi reveals to Goal that Harambee Stars should blame themselves for failing to make it to the next stage

Kenyan goalkeeper Patrick Matasi has insisted Harambee Stars deserved a place in the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Kenya, who were making their first appearance in the finals after a 15-year wait, narrowly failed to make it past the group stages in Egypt after finishing third in a pool won by Algeria, while Africa's top-ranked side Senegal came second.

The Saint George custodian has now blamed careless mistakes for the defeat to the Lions of Teranga which denied Kenya a chance to make history at the competition.

“We deserved to make it to the Round of 16 because if you look at the match against Senegal, we only required to keep a clean sheet and get any draw but that did not happen,” Matasi told Goal in an exclusive interview after the team touched down at JKIA from Egypt.

“We are out because we committed a number of individual and team mistakes and it happened that Benin managed a draw against Cameroon to throw us out completely.

“But I am very proud because the team did very well, we did our best and managed to pick some vital lessons from the tournament. I guess we were in a learning process and I thank God that we at least picked a win against Tanzania.”

Matasi has, however, admitted that Kenya have a long way to go before they can compete with the top teams in Africa.

“We still have a lot to do as a nation, it will not be easy to be at the same level as Algeria and Senegal. We still have a lot of work to do,” Matasi continued.

“But I know the cohesion between the Kenyan government and the local Federation will make us achieve something in the next edition.

“We have to come together as a nation and work towards achieving the goals, we don’t have enough training facilities compared to what we used during the three-week training in France and those are some of the things that Kenya needs if we are to compete with the best in Africa.”

Kenya started their Afcon campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Algeria, but they recovered to beat Tanzania 3-2 before Senegal thrashed them 3-0.

Harambee Stars will now shift their focus to the African Nations Championship (Chan) competition where their home-based players will face Tanzania in a two-legged qualifier later in July.

The first leg will be played between July 26 and July 28, with the second leg slated for August 4 in Nairobi.