Matasi Narrates 2019 AFCON Success, Including Saving Sadio Mane’s Penalty

Anytime Patrick Matasi embarks on a journey to his native home in Kakamega County, he no longer worries about where he, his wife and their child will spend their night.

The Harambee Stars goalkeeper now owns a magnificent three-bedroom bungalow which he constructed using the huge bonus he received after making history with the national team in their successful hunt for a 2019 Afcon slot in Egypt.

“I took the bonus that I was given by FKF and added it to the sign-on fee that I received from St. George’s and then used the amount to complete my house in Kakamega,” he explained.

Moreover, Matasi says he also contributed towards the completion of his mother’s house back in the village.

“My mother had been living in an unfinished house. I took part of my earnings and helped her to complete the house so that she can have somewhere decent to stay,” said Matasi.

Matasi, says he is elated to have carved a niche for himself in the books of history after writing a success story with the Kenya national team as their first team goalkeeper.

Before joining St. George’s of Ethiopia, he had previously played for AFC Leopards, Posta Rangers and Tusker, and is arguably one of the most decorated footballers in Kenya, furthermore, being among the few East African players who had the rare opportunity to play in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), which is the most coveted tournament on the continent.

His impressive skills in Egypt caught the attention of some of the continent’s top clubs, among them former African Champions League winners T.P Mazembe of DRC.

Among his best moments during the tournament was saving Sadio Mane’s penalty when Kenya faced Senegal in their second group stage match which they lost 3-0.

Matasi said that the team performed well in Egypt because they had prepared very well.

“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.”

Matasi said that they got a lot of experience in Egypt which they will use in future to post better results.

“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 learnt and we believe it will better next time. This was a good opportunity for us and it helped expose a lot of our players and with it several opportunities,” said Matasi.

He contends that the players have never had an issue with the federation about their bonuses, adding that the two parties had always sat down to reach a decision on how to split the cash.

“Before our last away match to Ghana, we held discussions with Football Kenya Federation (FKF) in regards to the bonuses to agree on how to divide the same,” he says.

He said that he took some some time before getting used to the way of life in Ethiopia.

“The first season was tough as I had to live in camp where the food was predictable. I have now moved into my own house and it allows me to sample different dishes.

Despite beginning the season slowly, Matasi says he’s eager to perform much better in his future games.

“I started the first season badly because I allowed opponents to score eleven goals. I improved in the second half of the season when I allowed them to score only twice. I expected to do even better this season but the league was cancelled due to the corona virus pandemic,” he concluded.

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Written by Senior Editor