Language barrier not an issue for new call-up Ochieng
He can hardly string two words in Kiswahili but Harambee Stars new call-up Wilkins Ochieng of Belgian professional league side, Club Brugge, has found an invaluable advisor in Michael Olunga ahead of the team’s World Cup qualifying matches against Uganda and Rwanda.
For starters, Ochieng, 18, and Olunga are roommates at the hotel in which Harambee Stars are residing and have been communicating in English ostensibly for the former to learn the ropes of playing for the national team.
“Of course, Olunga is older than me and has seen it all playing for Harambee Stars and that’s why I have always been on bedside listening to what he says I should do to make me a star like him. This is advice which could be a turning point in my debut to the national team,” said Ochieng’.
“ He (Olunga) who is the captain has given me a conducive atmosphere to express myself . I can ask him any question without fear
Ochieng left Kenya for Belgium 12 years ago, then aged six, where he immediately joined Club Brugge’s age group team without knowledge that he shall one day get a chance to represent his motherland Kenya in an international event.
He is largely comfortable communicating in English but has no qualms going through Kiswahili sessions to be at ease with his teammates in matters of national language.
“Kiswahili is our national language but I will somehow be fluent in it when the right time comes,” he said.