Kenyan goalkeeper Patrick Matasi admits he was left on cloud nine after saving a penalty from Senegal star Sadio Mane.
The Saint George keeper dived the right away to save from the Liverpool winger, but that save was not enough to deny Mane as he scored from a second spot kick awarded later in the match as Senegal beat Kenya 3-0 in their final Group C match at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Speaking exclusively to Goal after Harambee Stars returned home in the wee hours of Thursday morning following the exit from the competition, Matasi said he is 'proud' for stopping a penalty from a Uefa Champions League winner.
“It was a good feeling to make the save, a morale booster for the team but why I feel more than proud is because I saved a penalty from a player who came to Afcon after winning the Uefa Champions League,” Matasi told Goal.
“It was also historic moment since I set a new record because if you look at the Afcon statistics, the last penalty was saved during the 2015 edition, then I now saved Mane penalty, it was a good show and it now gives me morale going into the next matches.
“Everyone will now be saying, hey…this is the keeper who saved the penalty from Mane, I feel proud to have achieved that, saving the penalty.”
On the fans who criticised his performance against Algeria in the opener, Matasi said, “Against Algeria, we simply lost because of a penalty and an own goal but if they insist that I committed the mistakes, then I will take the blame, I don’t have any problem,” Matasi continued.
“But remember the best way to stop the critics is to put up a good performance and that is what I will continue to do, to play well and give my best.”
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.