The swag is back at Gor, defender Ochieng declares
Defender Wellington Ochieng believes resurgent Gor Mahia have the right tools in their technical bench to inspire the club to go all the way and reclaim the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title at the end of the season.
Ochieng who has found playing time difficult since joining the record league winners from Muhoroni Youth FC is also out to force his way into the K’Ogalo starting squad.
Gor are on a roll after crushing promoted Kariobangi Sharks 3-1 in their 2017 KPL opening clash on Sunday in Thika that came a week after they dominated champions Tusker FC to bag the Super Cup in a 1-0 victory in Nakuru.
Ochieng hailed the technical bench led by ex-Brazil international Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira and the returning Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno (assistant) who led the team in 2010 as a team capable of bringing silverware back to the club after a barren 2016.
The defender is looking forward to the return of the swagger that saw Gor sweep all before them to hold on to the KPL crown uninterrupted from 2013-15 with another Brazilian, Marco Aurelio (assistant) also in the K’Ogalo dugout as the third cog of the experienced bench.
“To have such a trio at your disposal is a fantastic thing. If we heed to their instructions and work hard, then am sure this combination will bring the best out of us.
“Probably we could even end up making history as one of the most successful crop of players to have donned the Gor Mahia jersey,” Ochieng reclaimed.
Ze Maria replaced Scotsman Frank Nuttal who is now coaching in Ghana after departing for Egyptian giant Zamalek having led Gor to clinch the 2015 crown unbeaten.
The ex-Muhoroni defender has been kept on the bench by rehabilitated Rwandese international Karim Nizigiyamana who is the preferred right-back after the exit of Kenyan international, Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma in the close-season.
But instead of sulk in the bench, the young defender is seeking to impress Ze Maria by improving as a player.
“Competition is always healthy for any team since it enables you to gauge your level. Gor is made up of high quality players.
“For it to work out for anyone, then definitely you have to push yourself in everything that you do and prove your worth to the coaches to be able to earn your chance,” he explained.
Ochieng’ who started in Gor’s victory over Sharks insists he will not rest until he cements his place in the first 11.
“I appreciate the fact that it isn’t going to be an easy ride. I will continue to do what the coach demands of me to see to it that I become suited to his playing style. That way I’m sure I’ll boost my chances of playing,” he said.
Although winning the domestic title is something he cherishes a lot his biggest dream is to play for Harambee Stars.
“I haven’t won any league title nor have I been lucky enough to receive a call up to the National team. Should the chance come, I’m ready and will definitely go for it. I’m fighting and working hard towards that every day,” Ochieng emphasised.
Despite being frozen out for most of the time on the bench, Ochieng does not regret making the move to Gor from Muhoroni where he was an established regular.
“The environment, professionalism and lifestyle have been different. You see here everything is of a higher standard. However, I have learnt a lot and there are already a lot of positives to draw from the time I have spent at Gor,” he underscored.
Besides the right-back position, Ochieng can play at centre-half where captain Musa Mohammed and Harun Shakava who netted the opener against Sharks have established the preferred partnership.
Gor face another slippery promoted side Zoo Kericho in Kisumu on Saturday.
Zoo got off to a limp start when they were beaten at home 1-0 by 10-man Posta Rangers.
-Report by Mwangi Githinji
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