NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18- Harambee Stars goalkeeper Patrick Matasi has revealed that he rejected the chance to don the number one jersey at the recently concluded CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup over what he terms as respect for Gor Mahia’s Boniface Oluoch.
Matasi was duly named goalkeeper and player of the tournament after his three penalty saves in the final saw Kenya clinch the title, but he reckons he is still far from getting to the level of his senior Oluoch.
“If you notice, I am putting on jersey number 18. When we got into camp before the tournament, they wanted to give me the number one jersey but I refused. For me, Boni (Oluoch) is still Kenya One and I am still learning so many things from him. I am yet to get to his level,” Matasi told Capital Sport.
Oluoch hasn’t had such a successful season with Gor Mahia despite playing a role in their run up to clinching the Kenyan Premier League title. Matasi on the other hand has been a pillar for his club Posta Rangers, aiding them to a fourth place finish.
“I think I have really grown over time and much credit has to go to my coaches both at the club and national team level and the journey is still continuing,” the shot stopper said.
He relived his penalty-saving antics saying it was all down to pre-match preparation and said he was confident that if the game was to be decided on penalties, then he would have stood tall and ensured Kenya won.
“I was confident and even when they equalized at 2-2 I told the players to ensure they don’t score the winner because I know on penalties, they wouldn’t beat me. We had trained the previous day and I received some advice from my coach Haggai (Azande) which really worked,” the keeper noted.
Matasi now hopes he can put in more yards of hard work to amass more caps for the national team with his eyes set on the African Cup of Nations qualifier against Ghana in Nairobi in September.
The keeper says he believes he can attain that mark especially with Arnold Origi now unavailable for Kenya after picking up Norwegian citizenship and his biggest competition being Boniface Oluoch.
“My target is the Ghana game and it will make me very proud to don the Kenyan jersey in between the posts. I will work hard and hopefully I can get a few more games to build my confidence. Competition is stiff but I trust that I will achieve that dream,” the goalkeeper added.
He only conceded two goals in six matches at the Senior Challenge Cup, both coming in the final against Zanzibar.