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Super Cup 2018: Gokulam Kerala feels like family for happy Henry Kisekka

04:02 BST 28/03/2018
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Kisekka talks about his impact at I-League debutants Gokulam Kerala...

Henry Kisekka, a certain 28-year-old Ugandan striker, turned out to be the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle for Gokulam Kerala in their first ever season in the I-League

Coach Bino George had tried various options to solve their striking conundrum through the season. Kamo Bayi spent more time on the treatment table than on the field and Odafa Okolie was a legend well past his glory days. Midway through the season, in January, Bino found the answer to the striking woes from an unlikely place - the Vietnamese league. 

In came Henry Kisekka who had spent the majority of his career in the Vietnamese V.League 1. His stint in India would get off to a splendid start.

Speaking exclusively to Goal, the striker expressed his delight at the decision to join the Kerala-based I-League side. "I just want to thank god for his gift of life that brought me here. It has been a wonderful feeling, it's like family here. The team has good chemistry and it helped me a lot to get into the team and interact with the players and coaches. I'm feeling good.

"When I came, I did not get to know about the situation of the team. When I came, I just wanted to do my bit. I connected with the team and that helped me. I knew the team hadn't done so well but I just tried to do what I can do best."

Very often we see players, especially forwards, struggling to adapt and settle into a team right from the off. With innumerable examples around the world to prove that point, Henry Kisekka has been an excellent exception. And as the striker says, having someone whom you already know at the same club helps. 

"Besides the local players, the presence of Mudde Musa helped me a lot. He was here before me and when I came, I knew there was someone here whom I can talk to, who can communicate with me on the field, who can speak the same language.

"We have been together for the national team as well. We combined well on the field, he understands me and I understand him."

Kisekka notched seven goals from four games since joining Gokulam Kerala in January. But the numbers don't paint the true picture of the impact he has had on the team.

To explain it slightly better, three of his four goals came against third-placed Mohun Bagan and champions Minerva Punjab. He was heavily involved in a run that saw Gokulam Kerala beat Bagan, East Bengal and Minerva Punjab in the space of a week, which earned them the tag 'Giant Killers FC'. 

"When I started football at a young age in an academy, I was playing as the no.9. I used to play that one position for such a long time. I used to see myself as a natural striker," says Kisekka.

"Then when I played in Vietnam, I used to play behind the striker. But I think I play well as a no.9." 

"The first time we played against Mohun Bagan was my first chance to get to know the coach and the team. I had come just a week before that game. I saw the happiness of everyone, the coach was smiling and appreciating. I felt happy seeing that," the striker recalls his debut when he scored to trump Mohun Bagan 2-1 at their own turf in Kolkata. 

Kisekka is reportedly loaded with offers from other clubs after his stunning spell with The Malabarians. The former Quang Nam player is happy at where he is but is open to offers. For now, his focus is on the Super Cup where Gokulam Kerala will take on Indian Super League finalists Bengaluru FC on April 1 in Bhubaneswar. 

"So far, my stay in India has been great. I am welcome here, I am sharing joy and happiness. It is great being here. If I get a good offer, I am looking forward to it. I would work on it."