Dennis Oliech is without a doubt the most accomplished striker Kenya has ever produced. He started out playing for Dagorretti Santos before he was recruited by Mathare United. He then briefly played for Tusker. He made his international debut at age 17 in 2002. His first major tournament was the 2002 CECAFA cup held in Tanzania. Kenya had gone 19 years without winning the tournament. The 17-year-old Oliech literally carried the team on his youthful shoulders. Despite coming on as a substitute in almost all the games, Oliech scored 5 goals to steer Kenya to their first CECAFA cup in 19 years. Who does that at such a youthful age?
Apparently, Oliech is suddenly the talk of Kenyan social media after former Harambee stars coach Ghost Mulee uploaded a photo with him at the recently concluded Koroga festival. The photo which has raised various reaction has left me with several questions. I have seen all sorts of funny comments about Oliech being broke just because they saw him with unkempt beards. Really?? If having beards is translated to being broke then Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o is broke as well.
Away from that, today we have written top 5 Dennis Oliech most memorable moments as an Harambee Stars Player which most of us can easily remember. Also, people should let Oliech live his life.
1. Kenya against Cape Verde Goal
Who can forget Dennis Oliech’s 83rd-minute super goal against Cape Verde on July 5, 2003, that took Kenya to the 2004 African Cup? Amazingly, that was Kenya’s last appearance at the African Cup of Nations till today.
2. Harambee Stars Vs Zimbabwe
Then, goalkeeper Arnold Origi sustained a serious nasty injury. Kenya had by this time used up all their subs. Dennis Oliech moved in to play in goal for the remaining 5 minutes as Kenya held out for a famous 2-0 win which he had also scored the second goal.
3. Oliech Goal against Burkina Faso
His most notable performance was in the last group game which Kenya won 3-0 against Burkina Faso. Oliech set up one goal with a clever backheel to John Baraza before scoring the last goal. That was his first and last goal in the competition.
4. 2002 CECAFA Cup
He scored five goals at the 2002 CECAFA Cup, leading Kenya to the title as well as getting the top scorer award.
5. He Made a debut for the national team at only 17 years old.
This was after being spotted in Machakos during an under 17 tournament that saw him selected to the national team. Days later he was in the national team that faced Nigeria in 2002. Very few young players would feature in Reinhardt Fabisch ‘s starting 11 for Harambee stars at such an age.
6. He Once paid Harambee Stars Return Air Tickets for 32 teammates after the government claimed that it was broke.
7. He is Kenya’s all-time top scorer with 34 goals in 66 matches.
8. He refused a 200 Million Qatar Offer to change his Kenyan nationality in 2004.
My parting shot: Every Kenyan who grew up during my time knows that Dennis Oliech is a Living LEGEND whom we should all be proud of. Stop vilifying him.