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Matasi credits Zico for penalty-saving heroics

In Summary

• While at Posta, Zico gave me some tips on how to go for spot kicks. I’m never under pressure — Matasi.

• Zico believes Kenya can achieve a historic place in the knockout phase of the ongoing African Cup of Nations if they stick to the ethos that saw them qualify for the first time in 15 years.

Harambee Stars goalkeeper Patrick Matasi makes a save during a recent training session
Harambee Stars goalkeeper Patrick Matasi makes a save during a recent training session
Image: ERICK BARASA

Harambee Stars first choice goalkeeper Patrick Matasi has attributed his recent penalty saving heroics to KCB coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno.

Since breaking into the starting line-up, Matasi has been outstanding in saving spot kicks while with the national team, a skill he credits to the confidence Zico instilled in him when the pair worked together at Posta Rangers.

The former Tusker man who plies his trade with St Georges revealed that he is never under pressure in the one on one situation and manages to save courtesy of keeping focus and maximum concentration.

“While at Posta, Zico gave me some tips on how to go for spot kicks. I’m never under pressure. It’s always the kicker who is under pressure. Of course, I am not perfect. I save some, and some I concede. But saving the shot boils down to my focus and concentration, and I think I have done well so far.”

Matasi’s save in Kenya’s friendly match against Madagascar in Paris two weeks ago was crucial in keeping Stars in the game, one they won courtesy of a second-half strike from the spot by Victor Wanyama. He was also excellent in their friendly match against DR Congo, denying Cedric Bakambu to maintain Kenya’s one-goal advantage. He would, however, concede late in the match, one that ended 1-1 in Madrid.

The former AFC Leopards shot-stopper made two saves when Kenya clinched the 2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge where they saw off Zanzibar in the shoot-outs.

Meanwhile, Zico, who resigned from the rank of assistant coach at Gor Mahia to take over the reigns at KCB believes Kenya can achieve a historic place in the knockout phase of the ongoing African Cup of Nations if they stick to the ethos that saw them qualify for the first time in 15 years.

“The team was really solid in the qualifiers and conceded few goals. That tactic needs to be maintained in Egypt and given that the gap between the traditional powerhouses and the so-called underdog’s has shrunk significantly, I will not be surprised to see Kenya go deep into the tournament.”