Former Harambee Stars Striker Oliech Don’t Regret Not Pledging Allegiance To Qatar

Former Harambee Stars captain Oliech who is among the Odibets contingent in Doha, Qatar for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.PHOTO/ Odibets

DOHA, Qatar- The ongoing Fifa World Cup here in Qatar has been humiliating to some teams while other sides have had a roller coaster ride.

Hosts Qatar were ousted from the tournament without a point in their Group A fixtures that pitted them against the Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador.

One of the people present here to watch the World Cup, especially fixtures that pitted the hosts against other formidable opponents is former Harambee Stars striker Dennis ‘the Menace’ Oliech.

Oliech clearly remembers how Qatar approached him in 2004, when he was only 19 years old.

The gulf state wanted the former Ajaccio striker to change his allegiance to them.

This swap of citizenship was to grant Oliech’s family over KSh 200m windfall but Oliech declined the lump sum offer.

But does he now regret the decision he made in his football prime?

“I don’t regret, it’s always good to play for the badge for your country, I always cherish every moment I featured for Harambee Stars and I’m glad I’m still the top scorer for Kenya to date,” the former Auxere forward told Standard Sports.

“I didn’t want a situation where I belong to them (Qatar) when I’m performing and being rejected when I don’t.

“I have seen sad things happen to many young players who swap citizenship. 

“The end result is always disastrous, their careers have always come to an end,” Oliech says.

“There is also the issue of the exit permit, they can refuse to grant you if you want to part ways with them, these are some of the factors I considered and I decided to halt my horse from bolting,” he added.

Oliech is among the Kenyan legends who are here in Qatar to watch the ongoing games courtesy of gaming firm Odibets.

The contingent was on Friday night gearing to view another mouthwatering tie pitting Brazil against Cameroon at the iconic Lusail stadium.

“Brazil have already qualified for the quarters, so they will be cautious to avoid injuries.

“Cameroon should not let them build perfect passes from the flanks, they should also let Brazil feel their weight in the opening 15 minutes of the game if they want to win against the Samba boys,” Oliech gave out his analysis.

Concerning Harambee Stars Road to 2030 Fifa World Cup that is scheduled to be launched by the Government in the coming weeks, Oliech feels Kenya should get an experienced coach who should be put on long term contract.

He feels this is the only way for the tactician to know the players well and build a winning squad in time.

He advises the Football Kenya Federation not to give coaches contracts for three months or one year which, he says, is a very short period for the tactician to perform well.

“The coach should be given at least five years whether they are performing or not, we should emulate Senegal and Saudi Arabia who have stuck with their tacticians for a while and the results are now bearing fruits.

“Even if the coach loses his games for two years we should not be quick to send them packing, we should be very patient with them,” says Oliech.

“Changing coaches often means players too will be changed, and some assistant coaches who remain when the head coach has gone always advise incoming coaches by showing them substandard players who will then give the assistants kickbacks when they make it to the national team,” Oliech hinted.

After Qatar, Oliech who also featured for French Ligue 1 side Nantes will be headed to France to visit his wife and kid.

He will also seize the opportunity to renew his insurance cover that takes care of his family.

“I have a French resident visa so I’ll pass there to meet my other family.

“The good thing for playing in Europe is that it grants a player a lifetime insurance cover upon retirement.

“So I’ll be in France for five days because I want my family to be fully covered against such chronic illnesses like cancer among others which are quite expensive to treat if you have to fork out the money directly from your pockets.

Odibets fans at the Caravan Fan Village. They are in Doha, Qatar to watch the World Cup courtesy of the leading gaming firm. PHOTO/ Odibets

Oliech is also planning to host the annual Dennis Oliech Foundation Cup at Dagoretti Corner in Nairobi in February and he is glad that Odibets have given him the green lights to be part of the tournament whose main objective is to identify talents and give back to the society.

Selected Fifa World Cup Group A outcome

Netherlands 2. Qatar 0

Senegal 3 Qatar 1

Ecuador 2 Qatar 0

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