By Gilbert Wandera
Harambee Stars face a bleak future following the shock resignation of team captain Dennis Oliech.
Oliech announced on social media on Sunday his decision to leave the national team just days Harambee Stars captain Dennis Oliech during Stars Nations Cup qualifier against Angola in 2011. [Photo:Stafford Ondego/Standard]
after influential midfielder McDonald Mariga sustained an injury that will keep him out for at least seven months.
Harambee Stars captain Dennis Oliech during Stars Nations Cup qualifier against Angola in 2011. [Photo:Stafford Ondego/Standard]
The AJ Auxerre striker’s decision was not surprising considering he had threatened to quit two weeks ago over a stand-off between him and Football Kenya Federation (FKF).
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The player has been protesting FKF’s and East Africa Breweries Limited’s (EABL) dill-dallying on demands for compensation over the use of his image on promotional material for the national team.
Most Kenyans who reacted to the news on social media pleaded with the AJ Auxerre striker to rescind his decision of quitting the national team Harambee Stars.
Oliech posted on his facebook page on Sunday that he had decided to quit the national team and concentrate on trying to help his club survive relegation.
Currently his club Auxerre are last in the French Lique 1 with 28 points from 32 matches.
The striker also said he will not be available for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers which kick off in June because of a three-week trial he will be attending at the time.
Reacting on Oliech’s decision to quit, Quincy Leone said: "Please don’t leave Kenya now. I am begging you. How can you leave your country and remain in a club that is going to be relegated?"
Another fan, David Erick asked Oliech to rescind his decision and take Harambee Stars to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
But not everyone has taken Oliech’s decision kindly. Tom Chege said the player had benefitted a lot by being associated with the national team and should at least give back.
Chege said the decision by Oliech is good riddance and will give young Kenyans an opportunity to play for the team. He even suggested that Celtic midfielder Victor Mugubi be given the armband.
"Kenya is greater than an individual and the Stars must proceed with their plans," he posted.
Even as Oliech announced the shock decision, sources close to him said he might consider rescinding the move if both FKF and EABL resolve the matter of his compensation.
"He is just upset that this has taken longer than necessary to resolve and does not like the fact that both FKF and EABL have been unwilling to deal with it.
"Posting on his website that he has quit is a strategy to force all concerned parties to resolve the matter once and for all," said the source.
The source said Oliech is still willing to play for Harambee Stars and understands that he needs the team to build up his career and boost his chances of getting a bigger club if and when Auxerre are relegated from top flight football.