Mike Okoth on his son Divock winning with Liverpool

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 00:00 |
Mike Okoth (left) with his son Divock Origi come from a Liverpool hospital after the Liverpool forward fractured his ankle in 2018. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Mike Okoth

Liverpool ended their 30-year wait to be champions of England on Thursday as they won the Premier League for the first time.

The title was decided as Chelsea beat Manchester City, and among the millions watching worldwide was former Kenya forward Mike Okoth Origi, whose son Divock - a Belgium international - is part of the Liverpool team. Here is Mike’s reaction.

It’s a very special day. Everybody who knows the history of Liverpool knows that it’s been a long,  long time - Divock was not even born.

I still remember that in 1990 I was in Kenya - I had just signed for Kenya Breweries.

So its been a long, long time waiting for their supporters and their people. You can imagine their emotions and the feelings that the fans felt yesterday, and for me as a father.

In Kenya, the Premier League has been one of the most watched competitions since we were kids. As a young boy growing up in Nairobi and Kenya, it was always our dream to reach there.

Unfortunately I was not able to do it, but my son is representing me, so it’s like me winning the Premier League.

Origi (centre) is congratulated by team mates after he scored a goal against Barcelona in a UEFA Champions League match. Photo/PD/COURTESY

It’s a very great moment for me personally and for us as a family.

We watched Chelsea play Manchester City it at home with friends and family - socially distanced, of course.

When Chelsea got the penalty and I saw the red card, we started preparing ourselves for a celebration.

When the final whistle came, it was an explosion of emotions. You know, finally, it’s there.

When the game is still going on, you’re not sure - in football anything can happen. So when the final whistle was blown, I got all the emotions.

I know all Divock has gone through over the years, since he was a young player - working hard, all the pains, all the sacrifices he has made. To see him succeed in this way gives you a good feeling and a proud moment as a parent - to know that what you were doing was the right thing.

When he was growing up, he was a football person. We would go out and play together. It was always football, football, football.

He always dreamed of it. I remember watching Match Of The Day and the Champions League - they give you an eagerness, to say: “One day I want to be there. One day I want to be on the pitch and hear the Champions League hymn; one day I want to be on Match Of The Day.”

After the Chelsea game finished I had a few minutes with him - he called us immediately before they started the celebration. We congratulated him - but now he wants to a few moments to have fun.

I was worried when the league shut down for coronavirus. Liverpool were flying - they were playing good football; they were ahead by a lot of points - and so when in March the league was stopped, we were saying: “Not now - please not now.”

We knew that they were going to win the league - everyone knew - it was just a matter of when. So when coronavirus struck, it brought the jitters.

There were nervous moments, waiting on the decisions of the Football Association and the government in England, and with what is happening all over Europe. At the same time, life is more important. Football is just a sport.

So after a few days, we said that the most important thing was that everyone was healthy. We could always play football later on. But in the first moments, we were thinking: “Why now?”

Fortunately, cases of coronavirus are going down. We regret the loss of life. The people of Liverpool have lost loved ones.

But the title has come, eventually, and it’s possible to enjoy it now.”                   -BBC

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