Belief carried us through, says skipper Musa

Harambee Stars captain Musa Mohammed and coach Sebastien Migne before the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Ghana at the Kasarani Stadium on September 8, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – Harambee Stars skipper Musa Mohammed lauded the belief and work-rate exhibited by his teammates as they pulled off a huge result on Saturday, beating Ghana 1-0 at the Kasarani Stadium in a 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier.

Nicholas Opoku’s own goal late in the first half proved to be the masterstroke as Kenya put her hopes of qualification back on track.

“First of all I want to thank God for the victory. I want to thank my teammates for the effort they put in and the fans for coming out in large numbers and supporting us like they did. I am feeling so happy I don’t know what to say,” an excited Mohammed told Capital Sport after the game.

Mohammed provided solid leadership at the back with Kenya thwarting the numerous Ghanaian threats and he says the players played as a unit and were there for each other every step of the way.

“When we push, work hard and pray, everything is possible. I believed we can do it and the players believed too. That is what set us apart here today. We came knowing that we are facing a tough team and we needed to give more than 100pc,” further noted the skipper.

The Harambee Stars starting team line up for a group photo before the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Ghana at the Kasarani Stadium on September 8, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

His sentiments were shared by keeper Patrick Matasi who played a huge role in the win, saying they knew it was never going to be an easy tie and hence needed to pull up, especially with most of the first team stars out.

“We maintained a very good tempo throughout the game and in our hearts, we knew we could get something. We played as a unit though we only had one week to prepare together,” further stated the keeper.

Meanwhile both Matasi and Mohammed have admitted that being underrated by the Ghanaians and with most people not believing they could get anything off Ghana pushed them to work harder and prove the naysayers wrong.

“Football has changed. These days, it is not just about names and countries. As a country we are improving because we have very good players and we showed that against Ghana. They came in here underrating us, but we had a plan and it worked,” Matasi said.

Skipper Mohammed concurred adding; “It is always a motivation when people don’t believe in you. We knew we had to work hard to show what we have and show that indeed we are a good team. They underrated us but at the end of the day, we had three points.”

The Harambee Stars players hurdle together in prayer before the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Ghana at the Kasarani Stadium on September 8, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The victory now puts the team’s efforts of qualifying to the Nations Cup next year on track ahead of next month’s back to back ties against Ethiopia.

“This victory has shown us it is possible. Ghana is not a small team and winning against them tells you that we have the faith. We will work hard in the remaining games to replicate this spirit,” added Mohammed.

The team’s next focus though is on Tuesday when they face Malawi in a friendly at the Kasarani Stadium.

Timothy Olobulu :A lover of sports who seeks to tell the African story in an African way. Top ten finalist of the Abu Dhabi Sports Media Pearl Awards. Be it on the pitch, court, track, pool or course, the story will be told. On twitter @KakaTimm