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Mbungo to swing Cheche back to defense

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AFC leopards’ utility player David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng makes a point during the Mashemeji Derby against Gor Mahia at the Kasarani Stadium on May 19, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – AFC Leopards head coach Cassa Mbungo says he will switch defender David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng back to his preferred central defensive role for the remaining three games of the season.

Ochieng played in his preferred role in the final 20 minutes of the Mashemeji Derby against Gor Mahia on Sunday and showed his true quality, marshalling the backline well having played as a holding midfielder since he rejoined Ingwe at the start of the second leg.

“I had to take him (Cheche) into defense because there had been many mistakes in the defense and for him, he fits there perfectly. He is an intelligent player with a very good football brain and the experience he has makes it easy for him to make decisions,” Mbungo said after the match.

AFC leopards’ utility player David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng dribbles forward during the Mashemeji Derby against Gor Mahia at the Kasarani Stadium on May 19, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

He added; “I had been using him in central midfield because we were short in that area and the players we have are very young. But now we will have to play him there in defense until the end of the season,”

“Next season I believe we will get some experienced players in that role and we will be better,” the Rwandese tactician stated.

Ochieng, speaking to Capital Sport after the match says he is ready to fit into any role given to him and give his best for the team.

AFC Leopards’ head coach Cassa Mbungo shouts instructions on the touchline during the Mashemeji Derby against Gor Mahia at the Kasarani Stadium on May 19, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“It was a tough match and I think were it not for the small mistakes, we would have competed very well. I was comfortable playing in defense just as I have been in midfield but now I would also love to concentrate on playing at the back for the remaining part of the season,” stated the defender.

The decision to stick to playing in midfield might have cost the experienced stopper a place in Kenya’s team for the African Cup of Nations, but he believes reverting back to defense will show his quality.

Meanwhile, Mbungo says he was pleased with the performance of the team saying it was far better than the first leg where they lost 2-0.

“The result was not good but the performance of the players was encouraging. If you compare with the first leg, I think we did better. It is only that we conceded all the goals from small mistakes in defense but from what I saw today, we can build on for a great campaign next season,” stated the Rwandese gaffer.

AFC Leopards will now look to finish the season stronger in their next three games as they look to push into the top eight.

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