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 inÂ EgyptÂ after finishing third in a pool won byÂ Algeria,Â while Africa's top-ranked sideÂ SenegalÂ 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.
â€œWe 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,â€ Matasi told Goal in an exclusive interview after the team touched down at JKIA from Egypt.
â€œWe are out because we committed a number of individualÂ and team mistakes and it happened that Benin managed a draw against Cameroon to throw us out completely.
â€œBut 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.â€
Matasi has, however, admitted that Kenya have a long way to go before they can compete with the top teams in Africa.
â€œWe 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,â€ Matasi continued.
â€œBut I know the cohesion between the Kenyan government and the local Federation will make us achieve something in the next edition.
â€œWe have to come together as a nation and work towards achieving the goals, we donâ€™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.â€
Kenya started their AfconÂ campaign with a 2-0 defeat againstÂ Algeria, but they recovered to beatÂ TanzaniaÂ 3-2 beforeÂ SenegalÂ thrashed them 3-0.
Harambee Stars will now shift their focus to the African Nations Championship (Chan) competition where their home-based players willÂ face Tanzania in a two-legged qualifierÂ later in July.
The first leg will be played between July 26 and July 28, with the second leg slated for August 4Â in Nairobi.