The 201cm tall opposite is enjoying his time in ‘fast-growing’ Indonesia Pro Liga as title race gathers pace
Despite a slow start to the end-of-season play-offs, Ugandan international Daudi Okello is confident of guiding Indonesian top tier club Jakarta Bhayangkara Presisi to the Pro Liga title.
Okello joined Bhayangkara from South Korean side Suwon KEPCO Vixtorm in November last year and has emerged as key player for the Jakarta-based club which finished third in the regular season to qualify for the play-offs.
“Indonesia is such a beautiful country and I have really enjoyed my time here. Volleyball is developing so fast and fans are so passionate about the game. It’s like the third most popular sport here after football and badminton.
“The big four teams have put in money to bring in foreign coaches and players which has really improved the quality of the league. The regular season was really competitive and the play-offs are even tougher,” said Okello whose professional career has also taken him to Bulgaria, Turkey and South Korea.
Apart from Bhayangkara, the other three teams participating in the playoffs are Surabaya Samator, Jakarta Lavani and Jakarta Stin Bin. The playoffs is being played in league format (home and away) with the top two teams meeting in the final to determine who is crowned champion.
Daudi Okello in action for Jakarta Bhayangkara Presisi in a past Indonesia Pro Liga match (Photo credits: JAKARTA BHAYANGKARA PRESISI)
Bhayangkara lost their first two matches 3-2 to both Lavani and Stin Bin but bounced back with straight sets victories over Samator and Stin Bin. They are currently ranked second on the playoffs standings with eight points. Lavani are top with 11 points, Stin Bin are third with five points while Samator are bottom without a point.
Okello, who is yet to win a league title in his seven-year career as a professional player, believes that they have what it takes to qualify for the final.
“The playoffs are normally a different ball game because sometimes the opponents study you so we have to respect our opponents. We were a bit unlucky in our first two games and also committed mistakes in court cover and sideouts.
“All is not lost, I believe we can win our remaining games and reach the final. Personally, winning the title will be a great honour and also for the club after working hard all season,” said the 201cm tall opposite.
The playoffs matches will end on March 12 with the top two teams proceeding to the final scheduled for March 19.
Daudi made his national team debut with Uganda in 2015 during Zone V qualifiers for the FIVB World Championships. Since then, he has emerged as a regular player for the Cranes as he reached greater heights in his professional career. He was the team’s top scorer at 2021 Africa Nations Championship held in Rwanda as Uganda finished a historic fifth behind Tunisia, Cameroon, Egypt and Morocco.