PARIS, France, Jun 12 – Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama says the pain of losing the UEFA Champions League final with his English club Tottenham Hotspur is a motivator for him to help the national team do well at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Wanyama played a crucial role in the team’s journey to the final of the elite European championship but saw the side lose the final 2-0 to Liverpool and he says the pain has pushed him to try achieve something with the national team.
“It was painful losing the final; it was tough because I know it was an important game for us but we lost. That loss now gives me a reason to work harder and give my best for my country and hopefully we can perform well at the AFCON. It would be a good way to end my season,” Wanyama told Capital Sport.
Wanyama says he feels in good shape after a tough season battling injury and he says he is ready to give his best for the country in Cairo.
Stars are drawn alongside Senegal, Algeria and Tanzania and will begin their campaign against the North Africans on June 23. Wanyama believes it is a tough group but the players are ready to give their best and get a result.
“It is a dangerous group. It’s not easy. We are aware of that and the fact that we need to work really hard to get to the next round. We have a good team and I believe if we work to our best abilities we can achieve anything we target,” the midfielder further stated.
Wanyama who joined the team at their camp in Marcoussis, Paris last Wednesday says he is impressed with how the players are responding to training and especially the youngsters who he says have brought in a lot of punch into the team.
“We are getting better everyday and the young players are working hard and willing to learn. We need to give them more time and support and I am sure they will grow into the game. Avire (John) has been fantastic, Okumu (Joseph) too has been great, cool calm and fantastic and I think we have a good team,” said the skipper.
He now hopes they can perform better on Saturday than they did against Madagascar last Friday when they travel to Madrid to take on DR Congo in a friendly match, their last before heading out to Cairo on June 18.
“We had a good game (against Madagascar) but we had some few mistakes which we have been working on in training. The first half was difficult because we played most of it on the back foot but we grew into the game,” Wanyama stated.
“If we can start the game better I know we have the possibility of playing a good game. It was good to win against Madagascar because such friendly games really help the team a lot in terms of motivation and confidence,” Wanyama noted.
At the same time, the skipper has called on fans to keep supporting the team even as they head out to Egypt, saying if they rally the team from behind, they are capable of doing great things.
“Hopefully some fans can make their way to Egypt and give us the support because this far we have come is because of them. They have sown us the best support so far and hopefully we can give them something good in Cairo,” Wanyama promised.