Manyatta United’s Ibrahim Ochieng is this year’s Most Valuable Player in the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom’s Nyanza region edition. The diminutive midfielder, having bagged five assists in just two matches played over the weekend in Kisumu, says they had to come in hard this time round having flopped at the same stage in 2018.
Manyatta fell 1-0 to eventual champions Ombek Red Devils last year and the 19 year old attributes this to the fact that they were relatively new to the tournament format that the competition adopted.
”We made a huge mistake of not realizing that even a single goal could knock you out last year. Ours was beautiful football to entertain the fans and we suffered massively for that,” he told Soka.
The team coached by Isaiah Opiyo, scored nine goals over two days this year – a massive statement from a team that insists they learnt from their mistakes.
Nyamaharanga from Kuria soaked in four goals- with Ochieng assisting Benson Omalla’s brace in the semi-final.
On Sunday, reserved the very best for the holy day as he ensured skipper Clinton Bulimo scored a brace and also provided the assist for another of Omalla’s goals.
Omalla- a Kisumu Day High School student, would go ahead and lift the golden boot with five goals – huge credit to Ibrahim who says it was all part of the plan.
”As an attacking midfielder, the coach tasked me to make sure we created chances. We just needed goals and he did not care if I was the one scoring or not. So we stuck to instructions,” he adds.
Unlike last year where the eventual national winners all traveled to England for a brief exposure, this season will have a select side chosen from the teams that feature from the national semi-finals for a brief tour of Spain’s La Liga,and Ibrahim believes it is a good route to take.
”I am happy with this one this time round, you know sometimes a team might lose out but in there, it has some two or three very good players. This system will motivate individual players to give their all and ultimately earn a chance for the Spain trip,” he concludes.
The national finals will be hosted in Kinoru Stadium in Meru in June, with the overall winner guaranteed a cash prize of Kshs 1 million.