ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, Jul 4 – Ethiopia head coach Abraham Mebratu has lauded the performance of Harambee Stars keeper Patrick Matasi at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt and has described him as one of the best keepers on the continent.
Despite conceding seven goals in the tournament, Matasi made a huge number of saves in all Kenya’s games especially against Senegal.
Mebratu knows Matasi too well as he not only plays his club football in Ethiopia with St. George but was in between the sticks when Kenya drew 0-0 with Ethiopia in Bahir Dar and won 3-0 in the return leg during the qualification phase.
“He may have conceded goals but he made a lot of saves in this competition. To me he is one of the best. I have seen him at St. George and also when we played and I think he is of great potential to rise to the top. He is a model for other Kenyan goalkeepers because Kenya has lots of young, good keepers,” Mebratu told Capital Sport.
He added that he was impressed with Kenya’s fighting spirit at the AFCON but has picked out two points that he believes if the country works on, they will be regulars at the biennial African championship.
“One of the areas that Kenya has to improve on is the defense. They conceded three penalties in two games and that is something bad. Tactically, the protection has to start from the middle and the tackles inside the box have to be perfect,”
“The other thing they need t improve is the attacking because most of the time, they were not doing so collectively as a team. I saw some individual actions with Olunga (Michael) but the group coordination was not good. If this works better, they can be regulars at AFCON,” the tactician stated.
Mebratu who previously worked as the Yemen national team coach has been in Egypt working with CAF’s technical committee, but will return home in the course of next week to prepare his country for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers which begin at the end of the month.
Ethiopia will be playing Djibouti in the first round of qualification.