Six controversial moments that shaped Dennis Oliech’s career

By Robert Abong'o: Tuesday, January 21st 2020 at 05:00 GMT +3 | Football
Harambee Stars record goal-scorer Dennis Oliech in action in a past match [COURTESY]

Harambee Stars record goal-scorer Dennis Oliech popularly referred to as ‘the Menace’ has announced his retirement from football.

Oliech made the announcement on Sunday, January 19 after failing to bag a move to a Kenya Premier League (KPL).

As quoted on a local news outlet, Oliech resorted to hanging up his boots after failing to attract  a KPL club and has moved into business.

"I have officially retired from playing football and will venture into business. I had stated that I would bounce back by joining Wazito or Bandari, but nothing is forthcoming, that’s why I have not seen any need to continue,” Oliech said.

The 34-year-old last plied his trade for perennial champions Gor Mahia after joining them in January 2, 2019.

Oliech cited financial constraints currently surrounding the Kenyan football scene as another reason why he chose to hang his boots.

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"Kenyan football is on its deathbed and that is evident by the go slows and walkovers in the league,” explained Oliech.

Oliech questioned why the league’s management could not stand on its own like it did before the arrival of major sponsorships from companies like SportPesa.

The Harambee Stars talisman revealed his next step in life, saying he would act as an agent for young aspiring footballers in Kenya.

“I will be an agent for young talented footballers so as to enable them get clubs in Europe,” Oliech revealed.

As much as it might appear Oliech was living the life, he had some serious controversies during his career that more or less shaped his football career.

Controversies surrounding Oliech

Bob Munro 'blocking' Marseille Move

Oliech training with Harambee Stars [COURTESY]

In 2003, Bob Munro, then Mathare United Chairman, was reported to have stopped Oliech from moving to Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille. Even though Munro denied he was trying to obstruct the player’s efforts to secure a move, reports emerged the Ligue 1 giants had developed significant interest in him.

Refused Qatari citizenship

After turning pro at age 19, Oliech moved to Qatar-based side Al-Arabi. In 2004, he was offered the chance to change his citizenship to Qatari, which he refused.

Nantes owing  Mathare 

Oliech signed a four-year contract with Nantes after leaving Qatar in 2005. He made his debut in March 2006 after being given the go ahead by doctor to play, following a spell on the sidelines due to a knee injury. His former Kenyan club Mathare, claimed Nantes owed them Sh14 million. Oliech, however, sensationally dismissed the Kenyan club’s bid.

Leaving Auxerre after 6 years

Oliech in action with Auxerre in the Champions League [COURTESY]

Oliech joined Auxerre on loan in the summer of 2007, making his debut in a 5- win over Lorient. He was signed permanently after 10 appearances, going on to score 25 goals in 165 appearances for them. He featured five times in the UEFA Champions League, and was sent off in a 2-1 loss to Ajax on Match day three. He scored his first ever hat-trick for Auxerre in a 4–1 win over Sochaux in 2011. He finished the season as the club’s top scorer even though they were relegated to Ligue 2. In the summer of 2012, Oliech announced he wanted to leave Auxerre and pursue another challenge, terminating his contract with the club on mutual consent.

Harambee Stars retirement

In April 2016, the Kenyan football scene was shocked after Oliech announced that he would no longer be playing for the Harambee Stars, citing lack of support from stakeholders.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement from the national team Harambee Stars. At this point I don’t feel my contribution has been appreciated by stakeholders. It has become difficult playing for the national team when you are not appreciated,” a dejected Oliech announced.

Gor Mahia contract termination

Months after signing with Gor Mahia in January 2019, Oliech’s contract was terminated on grounds of alleged misconduct.

“You are and have been guilty of serious misconduct and continued poor performance on the field of play. You have without reason and without prior permission from the Head Coach, the Team Manager or any other duly authorized Club Official absented yourself on numerous diverse days from training thereby denying the club the opportunity to field you as a striker,” explained K’Ogalo.

He reportedly sued the club and demanded he be paid for unfair dismissal.

Football history

Harambee Stars

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement from the national team Harambee Stars. At this point I don’t feel my contribution has been appreciated by stakeholders. It has become difficult playing for the national team when you are not appreciated,” a dejected Oliech announced.

Oliech first played for the national team in 2002 at the age of 17 against Nigeria in an international friendly in Lagos which Harambee Stars lost 3-0.

He went on to play in 68 matches for Harambee. His last match for the team was when he featured against Zambia in a 2-1 loss in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier tie.

Club Career

Oliech tries to take the ball of AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a past match [COURTESY]

Oliech started playing football for Dagoretti Santos before securing a transfer to Mathare United. He had trials with Ligue 1 side Marseille while still with the ‘Slum Boys’.

He began his career as a pro in 2003 when he signed for Qatar-based side Al-Arabi, where he scored 12 goals in seventeen appearances.

In 2005, Oliech joined French side Nantes on a four-year contract, making his debut for them on March 11, 2006. He scored only four goals in 32 appearances.

He joined AJ Auxerre the next summer on loan, where he stayed for six years, scoring 25 goals in 165 appearances.

He announced he wanted to leave Auxerre in 2013 and joined AC Ajaccio, then in the Ligue 1 on a two-and-a-half-year deal. He scored on his debut and went on to score another seven times in 50 appearances.

He moved to Dubai CSC in February 2015 after terminating his contract with the French club.

In 2019, Oliech agreed a two-year deal with Gor Mahia, which never lived to see the light of day after the club unceremoniously terminated his contract on grounds of alleged misconduct.

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