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African All Stars

Kenya defender Okumu let KAA Gent down for red card in Charleroi defeat - Vanhaezebrouck

5:22 PM SGT 5/9/22
Kenyan international Joseph Okumu.
The 25-year-old Harambee Star was sent off in the first half as the Buffalos went on to suffer defeat at Stade du Pays

KAA Gent Hein Vanhaezebrouck has blamed defender Joseph Okumu for "letting his team down' after being sent off in a 2-1 Belgian Pro League defeat against Charleroi on Sunday.

Despite playing away from home at Stade du Pays de Charleroi, Gent took the lead in the 22nd minute through Hyunseok Hong but Charleroi levelled matters in the 37th minute courtesy of Ryota Morioka.

However, in the 39th minute, the 25-year-old Harambee Stars defender was sent off for a reckless tackle and Charleroi took advantage of the numerical numbers to score what turned out to be the winner in the 73rd minute through Adem Zorgane.

The defeat has left Vanhaezebrouck tearing into the Kenya defender for his behaviour.

"Joseph Okumu is a great guy, but what he did there is unacceptable. He let his team down for a boost. I have no problem with the red card, it's justified," Vanhaezebrouck told the club's official website after the game.

"I do have a problem with Mbenza's foul It goes unpunished Well, if you always get red from now on because you react to a foul, then I'll accept that. Then it's clear, anyway we decide the match here ourselves."

On the team's overall display, Vanhaezebrouck said: "I was happy with the first half hour. We had control and possession. We scored the opening goal beautifully. Hong's header could be seen. We were even able to score a second time via Samoise, but the crossbar was a bit too low there.

"If we got 0-2 through Matisse, it would be difficult for Charleroi, but instead we made it impossible for ourselves."

"We messed up the entire match in five minutes. Ngadeu played in at a time when the other players were looking for their position. He made the wrong choice. Our midfielders were not in place yet and Charleroi recovered the ball.

"Morioka was, therefore, completely free. to equalise. Shortly afterwards, we overreacted to a push in the back."

Since joining Gent from Swedish IF Elfsborg, Okumu has never been sent off. He will now miss Gent's next two league matches against Zulte Waregem and Genk.