INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: KENNY ROCHA
With Kenny Rocha Santos, KV Oostende got a new playmaker. The 21-year-old midfielder from Cape Verde has one goal this season: work hard and help the team as much as possible.
Kenny, you've been in Ostend for a few weeks now, how do you like it here?
"Super good, I find life here very pleasant and also the family atmosphere at the club is a windfall. For me it was also easy that I already knew several players.
I even knew Makhtar (Gueye) quite well, as we played together at Saint-Etienne and at Nancy. I had also played against Theo (Ndicka) in the youth and I already knew Maxime D'arpino a bit.
They helped me to feel at home quickly. Adapting to the style of play and to the city has all gone very well. My biggest hurdle now is to learn English since I only speak French and Portuguese. Fortunately, you can also use French here. Especially in our core there are quite a few French speakers."
You already knew some of the players in our team, but do you also know the Belgian competition well?
"Not really no but with everything I've seen and heard now, it's a bit like the French league. It's a very physical league, but you also have some very good footballing teams here. So I think it's very important that we start the league well because we won't get any wins for free."
You'll be sporting jersey number 10 on the back of your jersey next season. Does that mean you have an important role in the team?
"I have talked to the coach about what role I will take in the team and for me it is simple: I will do everything I can to help the team. Of course I play on an important position so it's up to me to train hard and show I deserve that spot. I also try not to put too much pressure on myself. I don't compare myself to other players, I just look at myself and go and work as hard as I can to show the best of myself."
You're only 21 years old, so you still have a lot of football years ahead of you.
What is your ultimate dream in football?
"That's a difficult question. I have a personal goal and that is to play Champions League football. I have to give everything so I can't blame myself. First and foremost is hard training, showing mentality and giving everything in the games to help the team and then all the rest will follow."
You are from Cape Verde, a country that many will not know well, but you are not a bad footballing country hey.
"For the small country that we are, we are indeed not doing badly at all, no. We have succeeded twice in taking part in the Africa Cup and have also qualified for the next edition in 2022. The ultimate goal is of course to participate in next year's World Cup, because those qualifications are still in full swing. That would of course be incredible for such a small country. Our strength is that we do everything together. When we attack we do it all together, when we defend we do it all together and even when we go to the toilet we do it all together (laughs loudly). It is a pleasure to play for my country. But now first the focus on KVO."