Chemelil Sugar FC begin their second leg of the 2019-20 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season still placed bottom of the 18-team KPL log. Hosting Sofapaka on Saturday 25th, the sugar millers, who have only won once in the present campaign, rue biting financial constraints that have especially hit hard this season.
John Ochieng was roped in by former coach Francis Baraza to a youthful Chemelil side last season and is one of the key men in the midfield for the side. Having played 14 of their 17 league outings so far, Ochieng believes they can turn things around if the management can add some fresh legs in the mid-season transfer window.
”We have lost a few mature players and if it were up to me, I would replace them with equally good players. We need maturity in the second leg so that we can blend well with youngsters who are hungry to impress. At the moment, many players have shown up for selection and it is encouraging to see that some very good players want to be part of Chemelil in the second leg,” Ochieng tells Soka.
He says they did give their all in their first leg matches even if some- they lost by very huge margins. The problem for them, he says, was focus that could go all the way through the ninety minutes.
”You know we had different mindsets because of the hard financial times. While some played their hearts out, others would give up along the way and you could see that it was just a lack of motivation. I remember matches that we played well in the first half only to lose in the second. That was painful and I believe we are rectifying that in the second leg,” continues Ochieng who has previously played for Tusker Youth FC.
The Sugar millers had something going for them even in the matches in which they lost. David Simiyu was on four goals by the time he jumped ship from Chemelil to Sofapaka and this seemed to be their hope for picking any points. But he left as soon as the transfer window swung open.
Ochieng says they were happy for him.
”We were happy for him. Many youngsters wanted to play his position. They learned from him and when he left the youngsters stepped up and I believe it is only a matter of time before they start scoring,” concludes a confident Ochieng.
Simiyu will return to Chemelil this Saturday in the colors of Sofapaka, and the team that is currently coached by Odero Charles knows they must start picking points if survival in the top flight remains a top priority. They are currently on four points on the log, 4 behind Kisumu All Stars and 6 behind Nzoia Sugar.