James Magayi @magayijim
Harambee Stars French coach Sebastian Migne has named Tusker FC custodian Patrick Matasi to start in goal when Kenya plays Ghana in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Kasarani Stadium on Saturday.
Migne sounded delighted with Matasi who was Kenya’s hero as they won the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Machakos last year and made the trip to India for the Heroes Cup on the Frenchman’s first assignment.
“I can tell you that Matasi will start on Saturday. It’s the only name out of the 11 that I am offering,” Migne said after the team’s morning training at Kenya School of Monetary Studies yesterday.
Only three goalkeepers out of the five called up are in camp after Gor Mahia’s Boniface Oluoch missed out due to injury while rookie Brian Bwire of Kariobangi Sharks was culled alongside a dozen other locally-based players.
“Boniface Oluoch is a good goalkeeper but he’s not here and so I cannot talk about him. I only talk about players in camp and I have 24 of them. David Owino is a good defender but has a slight injury that will determine if he plays or not. There is still time for a lot to happen but the morale here is very encouraging,” added Migne.
Promising Red Arrow custodian Ian Otieno will understudy Matasi alongside Bandari’s Farouk Shikalo. The duo have better statistics compared to Matasi in the various leagues they feature in but the Tusker goalkeeper’s experience and the trust Migne gave him an edge.
The Former Congo tactician, however, expressed displeasure at the absence of team captain Victor Wanyama. Wanyama is yet to attain full fitness after suffering a crippling injury last season and opted to skip this international assignment to work on his fitness.
Football Kenyan Federation (FKF) and his English Club Tottenham Hotspur engaged in a small feud, which the former lost and kept Wanyama out of a gruelling encounter.
“It is not right at all for him to be absent. Even if he is injured, he should be here when called up. Other players do the same elsewhere for their national teams and it does not matter whether they will play or not,” an irritated Migne said while urging fans to turn out in large numbers and support the team on Saturday.
“In football anything can happen. I know Ghana is a very strong team, in fact, they deserved to have been at the World Cup. But that does not mean we do not give our best against them,” added the Frenchman.