Harambee Stars defender Joseph Okumu has revealed the reasons behind his superb outing in the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
Okumu made it to the Stars AFCON team but no one gave him a chance going by his role in the qualifiers but he was to get the nod at the heart of the defence due to an injury to injuries.
The defender was thrown straight into the mix in Kenya’s opener against Algeria to partner Musa Mohammed after Joash Onyango had picked an injury in training and Mandela ruled out of the tournament.
Speaking on Facebook Live show with Bram Karamoja, Okumu who revealed that it was a good outing for him said: “I didn’t expect to start games in the showpiece due to my role in the qualifiers but when I was called upon I had to give my best.
“My biggest motivator in the tournament was Mandela (Brian). He was injured and every time I went out more so in the Algeria game, he urged me to play for him. So I knew I was playing for two people. I really wanted to do well for him because he is one person I learnt from a lot and I remember partnering him in my national team debut.
“Meeting players like Mahrez and Mane was a good experience for me as a player. It gets the best out of you and I believe I gave my best although I felt we could have done better in the tournament.”
The outing in the showpiece saw the youngster star rise and he was to be snapped by Swedish top-flight side IF Elfsborg in August 2019.