An emotional Macdonald Mariga struggled to hold back tears moments before Kenya took to the pitch to play Algeria in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group C match on Sunday in Cairo, Egypt.
The former Kenyan international, who now works as a brand ambassador for top gaming firm Betin, was among hundreds of Kenyan fans who thronged the 30 June Stadium in Cairo to watch Harambee Stars face off with the Desert Foxes.
Mariga followed the proceeding from the stands alongside his siblings as Kenya struggled to break down Algeria.
And while those in attendance looked excited just to be there, Mariga struggled for composure as he kept clearing his teary eyes with his left hand as he remained seat during the national anthems.
"When they (the teams) were coming out, I pictured myself to be there (among the starting 11). I wanted to play for my country but everything has an end. I suffered a lot to be a fan than on the field of play," Mariga told football-256.
"It's a career and with injuries like I had with my knees it's very difficult to continue," said the former Inter Milan midfielder.
But even despite Kenya's 2-0 loss in the match, Mariga expressed optimism that Harambee Stars would come good in the remaining group matches against Tanzania and Senegal.
"This is the first game, we have two more games, I hope we will win and qualify for the next stage," he said.
Kenya will play Tanzania in the next assignment at the same venue on Thursday.