What do Oliech, Rooney and Fabregas have in common? …No! it’s not the three vowels in their names. Once upon a time in a not-so distant past, they were among the world’s 20 brightest young talents. The only difference is that the latter pair has amassed 14 titles between them while Dennis “the menace” has NONE. At the end of their respective careers, what will we remember them by?
Take for example, ‘Wazza’ (Rooney), the memories are infinite. From his stunning debut goal against Arsenal as a 16 year old to his spectacular overhead kick against Manchester City. Fabregas on the other hand effortlessly filled the void left by former Gunners captain, Patrick Vieira. What about his sublime pass in setting up Iniesta’s goal in the 2010 World Cup final…epic!
On the other side of the scale, what will we remember Deno by? Flashy cars with foreign number plates? Being linked to the prettiest women in town? Or Kicking the daylights out of an invasive photographer?
I will remember him as a sixteen year old making his debut against Nigeria, his thunderbolt against Cape Verde that sent Kenya to the African Cup of Nations and being the first Kenyan to play in a Champions League match in a group made up of football royalty i.e. Real Madrid, AC Milan and Ajax Amsterdam. But most of all, I will remember his loyalty, patriotism and nationalistic convictions that this country is superior to others because he was born in it.
Despite all his issues with the Kenyan football management, he has played for Harambee Stars with unrivalled dedication and purpose. I mean this is a person who forfeited KShs 200 MILLION from the Qatar Football Association to continue wearing the national jersey. At a time when our leaders are busy championing for a pay rise I seriously doubt if any of them would refuse to alter their name to an Ahmed or Abdul-Aziz if it meant that there would be an increase in cash flow.
Yes, he was hot-headed but he was full of heart. He was many things to many people, he may not have fulfilled his potential as a footballer but his impact off the pitch was as important as the goals he scored.