How karate training helps Ingwe Ochan keeper stay fit during lockdown

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – With the closure of sports facilities and gymnasiums in Uganda as the country struggles to flatten the COVID-19 infection curve, AFC Leopards goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan has decided to innovate with his home workout regimen, adding karate into the mix.

At his home in Entebbe, the Ugandan enlisted the expertise of Deputy Police Superintendent Barnabas Tusingwiire to hone his karate skills in the mornings, while he devoted his evening sessions, also in the pregnant with her home, to strength and conditioning.

“Karate training helps me a lot to work on my flexibility. Karate is a whole world of adventure. These guys do a lot of stretches and weird reflexes and it’s so good for your body. As a goalkeeper having good reflexes and a good reaction is essential and that is what karate teaches me, ”Ochan said. Sports capital.

“Besides, for self-defense, you know!” No one can try to steal from me, ”joked the Ugandan guard.

With uncertainty as to whether the Kenyan Premier League will be over or not, Ochan says he will continue to train to stay in shape, just in case the games resume.

“In the evening I have to do strength and conditioning exercises at home. There are also workout routines that Coach Webo (Lawrence) sent to me and I make sure I follow them every day as well. It was a difficult time for athletes because we are used to being on the field in competition or in training, but now we can’t. I hope we can deal with this virus soon enough, ”Ochan added.

The 30-year-old joined the Gambian Kabwe Warriors’ Leopards at the start of the season and has been an integral part of coach Antony Kimani’s squad, helping Ingwé to bounce back from a bad start to the campaign.

AFC Leopards goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan prepares to throw the ball upwards in a final Kenyan Premier League game. PHOTO / Raymond Makhaya

But by his own admission, the navigation was not easy and settling in at the club was a bit difficult at first.

“At first I struggled with the language because I don’t know Swahili very well, but at least now I’ve learned and can say I’m at 40pc. But the good thing is that everyone on the team speaks English and it’s not that hard to communicate. But sometimes the conversation turns ”, explains the guard.

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He adds; “Another challenge was getting used to the style of play. I joined the team at the end of the preseason so it took a little while to catch up but at least towards the end of the first leg. , we were all on the same page. The style of play has become clearer and we now have a defined way of playing where we want to spin the ball. ”

Ochan also admitted that the Kenyan league is more difficult, noting that there is no underdog in any game.

“It was harder than I expected. The competition is very tough and the intensity is insane. You also can’t underestimate a team because everyone comes out to win. Especially when you are playing. for the AFC Leopards, the teams come out to beat you out of pride and give their best.

AFC Leopards goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan with his teammates during a training session at Kenya Technical Trainers College in Gigiri, Nairobi. PHOTO / Timothée Olobulu

With uncertainty over when and if KPL will resume, Ochan hopes that at least they can play the FKF Cup where they had already booked a ticket to the quarter-finals. His hope is that they will win the trophy and reserve a place to play in the CAF Confederations Cup.

“I had hoped to win something with the AFC Leopards this season. For now, if the league picks up, it is difficult for us to win the title; maybe we get to the top three. But with the Cup, we have a very good chance because we are in the quarterfinals. We have a great team and the coaching staff is amazing and I believe we can go all the way and win.

“We want to play in Africa because that’s where the big competition is. AFC is a great club and we deserve to play there. I hope we can resume and that I will achieve one of my goals. But next season, when we come back, we really want to fight for the league title, ”Ochan says confidently.

At the same time, the keeper is optimistic and can fight for a return to the Uganda Cranes national team, having last participated in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco. However, he missed the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017 and 2019.

AFC Leopards goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan all smiles during a training session at Kenya Technical Trainers College in Gigiri, Nairobi. PHOTO / Timothée Olobulu

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel bad after missing the CAN. It’s a dream for every player to play for the national team and I want to work hard to get back to it.

“It’s difficult because I’m competing with very good goalies. Dennis (Onyango) is Africa’s best goalkeeper and you have to respect him and respect what he has done for the continent and Uganda. He is an inspiration to all of us and also a challenge to work hard and get to where he is, ”he notes.

Add; “I want to continue working hard at AFC Leopards and giving good performances and I think with the help of coach Webo who is the best goalkeeper coach in Africa, I can get back to the national team. and be part of the team in the Nations Cup qualifiers.

Ochan has had quite an adventurous career, having played for Victoria University, Vipers and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) in his native Uganda, Bloemfontein Celtic in South Africa and Kabwe Warriors in Zambia.

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Kristen T. Prall

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