Chrispine Ochieng is the head coach of Plateau Queens who won the Safaricom Chapa Dimba tournament for the second time this year after having won the first tournament back in 2018. With this track record in mind, I sought to know what made his team so successful and this is what he had to say.

Chrispine Ochieng was born into a footballing family with his father being a footballer in the Kenya Police team. This is what influenced him to start playing football something which he did all through his school years up to University where he graduated with a degree in education. When he got his first posting to Omboga Mixed Secondary School, his love for football saw him start working as a referee in the school games. He worked here for about 8 years up until when he got transferred to Nyakach Girls High School in 2017.

Chrispine Ochieng

Being that the administration knew of his footballing talent, they immediately appointed him to their technical bench. His football nurturing skills must have come into play because it was during this time that the team won their first Chapa Dimba tournament in 2018. Unfortunatly, they were not able to play in the tournament in 2019 due to the fact they felt that they did not have a good team and chose to focus on rebuilding their team as some of their key players had finished school.

During this time, they managed to build a very good team which went on to win the National finals at the Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) games. At this point they felt that the team was ready to take on and win the Chapa Dimba tournament.  However, Covid happened and the tournament was postponed indefinitely.

In 2022, they focused on rebuilding the team once again because some of the players had left school. In as much as Chapa Dimba was not played during this time they managed to get to the regional finals of the KSSSA games. In 2023, they decided to register for Chapa Dimba with the team because as they felt that it had matured. Having failed to clinch the KSSSA and Talanta Hela titles, they decided to give Chapa Dimba their best and the rest  we can say is history.

Chrispine shared that the team’s secret to success is that they focus on nurturing talent from an early age. As a matter of fact, they start monitoring players all the way from Primary School with the ones showing a lot of promise being approached to study at Nyakach where they are able to develop their footballing talent. Luckily, the school has been supportive of the coach’s scouting activities as the results are plain to see.

Other than nurturing talent, the coach also shared that discipline was key to enabling them win the tournament. A good example of this is that whenever they have a game to play, everyone leaves their phones at home. This makes a big difference because the players are able to concentrate on winning the game at hand because phones cause a lot of distractions.

The coach shared that the primary reason he decided to take part in the Chapa Dimba tournament is that it provides exposure to his players. This is because courtesy of the media coverage at the tournament, it helps in marketing the players as well as the school. As a result of this, the players have a good chance of being scouted by the various clubs. As a matter of fact three players from the team that won this year’s Chapa Dimba had already been signed by Vihiga Queens and Kisumu Starlets by the time the tournament was ending. These players are Emily Moraa, Vivian Akinyi, Lucy Otieno and Pauline Majimbo.

Chrispine indicated that the biggest challenge that they faced during the tournament was injuries to the players some of them being chronic. At some point it was so bad that he had to take the players to hospital so that they could go through physiotherapy sessions to help them recover. Another challenge that he faced was inadequate equipment like balls, shoes which kept wearing out, thankfully they were able to get support in replacing them from the school.

According to the coach, Chapa Dimba is having a very big impact on grassroots football in that it provides a platform where young footballers can showcase their talent which would have otherwise gone unnoticed. He gave the example of how the players who won the Chapa Dimba in 2018 went on to join various clubs in the Kenya Premier League like Ulinzi, Gazprom, Vihiga Queens and even Harambee Starlets. Which would not have been possible if they hadn’t played at Chapa Dimba.

His advice to young footballers is that they should work hard, keep training and never give up. Also, when they get a chance to play in a tournament like Chapa Dimba, they should show up and play their hearts out as one never know where it could lead.