Harambee Stars striker explains akward moment with former Liverpool hero Sadio Mane at 2019 AFCON

Harambee Stars striker explains akward moment with former Liverpool hero Sadio Mane at 2019 AFCON

Mark Kinyanjui 10:45 - 23.05.2024

Mane appeared to snub the former Sofapaka striker after appearing to ask for his jersey after Harambee Stars played Senegal at the 2019 AFCON.

Harambee Stars striker John Avire has explained his awkward interaction with former Liverpool star Sadio Mane following the side’s match against Senegal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt.

Moments after full time, which Mane scored twice to help his team win 3-0 win, Avire was spotted approaching the former Southampton and Metz star and striking a conversation while touching  his jersey.

Mane was then spotted pointing towards the dressing room before weirdly walking away, which generated considerable interest online.

Another camera angle showed Avire and Mane then sharing a warm embrace, with Mane appearing to tell Avire he would have given him his shirt after the match.

According to Nairobi News, Mane was supposed to give Avire his shirt after completing his media obligations.

“It’s true. He (Avire) asked for Mane’s jersey,” said a source close to the Kenyan camp who spoke to the outlet on condition of anonimity.

“But Mane directed him to wait until he was  done with the post-match formalities. Unfortunately, the two didn’t meet as Mane was asked to go and receive his player of the match award.

“Then he was mobbed by the media for interviews which did not end until after the Kenya contingent had left the stadium.”

Now, Avire has shared his side of the story five years since the incidence. The striker claims their interaction was nothing more than a greeting and not begging for a jersey.

“Sadio Mane is a big player, for me, he was a role model,” Avire told members of the press on Wednesday, 22nd May.

“I was happy to meet with him and have a talk with him. It was a good experience and it is never bad to greet your heroes. All it just was was a greeting. Nothing more.”

Meanwhile, Avire is optimistic Kenya will do well against Burundi and Ivory Coast in their third and fourth matches of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers which will take place in Malawi.

The side managed to lift the Four Nations’ tournament in Malawi back in March, and he believes that momentum will be carried on to those crucial matches.

The team has a positive mindset because in the last three games, we have achieved victory. It was a good experience because we won the game. The team is well prepared.

“I believe the next game will also be the same. We have a good coach who gives us very good advice and I think it will help us.”

The matches will not take place in Nairobi due to a lack of FIFA and CAF approved stadia in the city and country for use. Kasarani is undergoing renovation, while Nyayo was deemed not ready given the dressing rooms lack proper ventilation according to CAF’s inspection team.

Avire has decried the situation, but insists it will motivate the boys to do their best at the tournament.“Every player and coach would like to play here but it is a situation we cannot control. We will be hoping to play at home because the fans play a big part in football.

“As a team, we are focusing on the victory and I am confident we will make the nation proud.”

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