- Former Harambee Star Custodian Duncan Ochieng has detailed how difficult it is to be a goalkeeper revealing that keepers are the first to be blamed despite a great display.
Ochieng, who played for 10 clubs before retiring at Tusker in 2017 says a goalkeeper, whenever a mistake occurs, is always the first person to be blamed.
“First to be blamed; last to be credited, that’s the life of a goalkeeper,” Ochieng said.
“It’s often said that a striker can laze around, shoot blanks and run like a headless chicken for the entire game, but his stoppage-time goal makes him the hero,” stated the retired goalkeeper.
“A goalkeeper, on the other hand, can make Superman-like saves the entire game, yet his one and only blunder make him the villain,” the former Sofapaka custodian argued.
Ochieng, who won the KPL title with Mathare United and Tusker in 2008 and 2011 respectively, also explained how lapses in defense can end up being labeled a goalkeeper’s blunder.
“While some may argue that defensive errors come from various avenues and not just only from the man between the sticks, others will only zero in on the terrible blunders that leave no one else but the keeper to be blamed,” the former IK Sleipner star continued.
Although he narrates the difficult life of the custodians, Ochieng went on to advise goalkeepers on how to deal with such criticism.
“The best goalkeepers are egotistical and it is important that they are such men. Goalkeepers need to believe they are the best to keep going up the ladder.
“It is not enough if a goalkeeper says it by his words; a goalkeeper truly needs to believe in the fact that he is the best at what he does,” he concluded.
Ochieng served Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Mathare United for 16 years in four different stints but left a memorable goalkeeping moment during the semi-finals FKF Shield Cup match between Sofapaka and AFC Leopards in 2013that left him furious.
Interestingly, Ochieng left his area comically to clear an oncoming ball but he did not manage it and left Allan Wanga to plant the ball into an empty net.