Cheche cites heroics against Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards in defending Harambee Stars inclusion

FOOTBALL Cheche cites heroics against Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards in defending Harambee Stars inclusion

Kiplagat Sang • 10:10 - 20.03.2023

There was criticism from some quarters when the defender was recalled for national duties.

Defender David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng has cited his output in helping Mathare United beat Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards ahead of his inclusion in the Harambee Stars provisional squad.

As the Slum Boys beat Gor Mahia 2-1 and later downed Leopards 1-0 – on their birthday -  Cheche was in the starting XI.

His inclusion, and especially the absence of Joash Onyango, who has equally been in top form for Simba SC in the Tanzanian Premier League and the CAF Champions League, set tongues wagging.

However, the experienced centre-back has defended his inclusion in Engin Firat’s provisional squad.

"I have played against big teams [Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards], Sofapaka, and Bandari," Cheche said.

"Personally, I feel good to go. Everyone saw how I performed [in the Mathare matches against AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia], and I am ready to play for Harambee Stars."

On Kenya’s return from international suspension, he stated, "The feeling is OK. The return is welcome, and this is good for our generation. We could not play after [the World Cup qualifier] against Rwanda.

"And you know that playing for clubs without international football is sometimes not good."

Kenya are set to face Iran on March 28, and Cheche believes there are many benefits for the national side from the friendly engagement.

"Personally, I do not know much about them, but having played in the World Cup, they are automatically a good opponent for us," he continued.

"The pressure is always there when playing for Stars. We want to win, and hopefully, we can beat them. We plan to win, and that will help us in the FIFA rankings."

Cheche and Firat read from the same script while discussing Kenya’s infrastructure and the need to improve it.

"The infrastructure out there is not good. The fields provide a conducive environment for players and spectators. We have a lot to do if we are to catch up with the rest," he concluded.

"We are really far behind and should, endeavor to catch up.

"We have to face reality and avoid selling dreams. In terms of infrastructure, we are behind North Africa, let alone Europe."

Cheche and some of the summoned players are already in the training camp.