NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14 – Harambee Stars defender David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng is elated after helping his club New York Cosmos clinch the North American Soccer League championship title after a 4-2 post-match penalties win over Indy Eleven in the final on Sunday night.
Ochieng’ who joined the club at the start of the year came on in the 59th minute for Brazilian defender Roversio Rodrigues and went on to play a crucial defensive role forcing the game to penalties after a 120-minute stalemate.
“I feel so happy because it hasn’t been easy getting here and finally we are celebrating the championship. It is such a great night for me and the team,” the former Tusker FC stopper told Capital Sport after his side picked victory.
The defender endured a tough start to life in the American city especially having stayed for close to a year without active football following his departure from Saudi Arabia.
But he clawed his way back, working hard to catch head coach Giovanni Saverese’s attention garnering increased play time especially in the second part of the season in the Spring.
“I really had to work hard because coming into a new team and you are not at 100 percent is not something easy. I am happy because the coach was patient with me, he trusted me and my team mates also played a huge role in me gaining more confidence. I am happy to have finally broken into the team and this is just but a start,” Ochieng added.
He has impressed his new club so much that he is nearing a new deal with them and it is no wonder they asked the Kenyan FA to exclude him from the two international friendly matches this week to remain and play part in the run up to the club’s eighth championship title.
Ochieng now hopes to play an even bigger role for the side next season and hopes to accrue more minutes as well as permanently get back to active playing for the national team.
“At this moment I feel I have gotten back to top form. The only way from here is up and I want to do better for the club and also for the national team,” the defender who captained Kenya in last year’s CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup added.