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What Mohamed Salah said of Muguna after Egypt tie

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | April 9th 2021
Football - Club World Cup - Final - Liverpool v Flamengo - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - December 21, 2019. Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates winning the Club World Cup. [REUTERS/Corinna Kern]

It was a call. Actually, it was more of a request. A plea.

Minutes after Kenya held Egypt to a 1-1 draw in their second last Group G match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at Kasarani Stadium, Egyptian Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah sauntered into the Harambee Stars changing room.

No, he wasn’t here to reprimand any of the Stars boys for having shoved him in their match. The Pharaoh’s offspring was here to have a chat with the national team, more so, Kenneth Muguna.

Exchanging sweat-soaked jerseys by players after a match has become a norm in the world of football. And on March 25, it was Muguna’s chance to walk home with a memorable gift.

After words of wisdom, Mo Salah presented the Gor Mahia midfield kingpin with a white number 10 jersey in appreciation of his brilliant performance against the Egyptians.

Harambee Stars might have failed to qualify for next year’s continental tournament in Cameroon, but the Gor Mahia man definitely has something better to remember their not-so-impressive qualification campaign.

“I have always dreamt of meeting some of the best players in the world, but for me, Salah is just special. He is not only one of the best players in Africa, but the world. It was really amazing to have a one-on-one chat with him,” said Muguna.

Kenya finished third in the group with seven points, five behind group winners Egypt.  

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Muguna, 25, was among the best performers in the new-look Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee’s side against the star-studded Pharaohs.

Harambee Stars midfielder Kenneth Muguna working out in gym while wearing Mohamed Salah's jersey. [Photo: Courtesy]

And according to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa, the two-time English Premier League golden boot winner described Muguna as a ‘top and quality’ player.

“Mo Salah was pleased with our performance against Egypt. He told the boys they were unlucky and that they really deserved to win that game. But that is the nature of football,” Mwendwa told Standard Sports on what transpired in the dressing room that night.

“Salah had actually brought Muguna his jersey. He came into the dressing room to handed over the jersey to him. In his own words, Salah told him he had played against many great midfielders in the world but he felt Muguna is on another level.”

“If a player of Salah status can tell Muguna such encouraging words, what can we Kenyans tell him? I think we just need to keep Muguna motivated and try to build a strong team around him to enable him to reach the top level. So, it is not wrong for Kenyans to dream that Qatar 2022 is possible.”

Muguna, who missed Kenya’s 2-1 away victory over Togo in their final qualifier with a knee injury, posted a photo on his Facebook page on Monday while in a gym wearing Salah’s white jersey.

“I have worn the jersey once, while in the gym. I’m planning to take it to my parents in the village. I want it to be framed.”

Harambee Stars' Captain Kenneth Muguna playing against Taifa Stars of Tanzania during a friendly match at Nyayo National Stadium on Monday, March 15, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]
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