I love suits. I envy Italian fashion, but majority of my outfits are Kenyan. Whenever I think of acquiring a suit, my designer who is on speed dial comes to mind. There are a number of excellent Kenyan designers coming through the ranks, and they are doing some pretty amazing work. No doubt.
Last weekend, I sat alongside my designer as she stitched one of my blazers. I had carried along a new trouser which I needed to have it resized. In the middle of our lengthy discussions, she sought to know where I had acquired the trousers. It was amazing in color and the fabric was excellent. “In one of the outlets in town,” I said. “For 800 shillings.” The surprise drawn on her face was evident. “The Chinese have invaded lots of industries, the fashion industry included. This trouser you bought should ideally be thrice that price. See what the Chinese have done? It’s making business tough for us,” she said.
It isn’t new to any Kenyan how much the Chinese have influenced business in Kenya. Well, while you still were thinking about the ‘chinkus’, Michael Olunga just made a sensational switch to the Chinese Super League. Any mention of the league and money comes to mind. Diego Costa is the latest high profile player after Christiano Ronaldo and Yaya Toure to turn down lucrative moves to the Asian nation.
Olunga’s move is certainly laced with controversy, as questions have been raised on if the player was after the cash or career development. Olunga, Kenya’s best football prospect currently, face an uncertain future in the league that seeks to overtake the English Premier League. After a promising start to Sweden, and growing interest from Turkish and Russian clubs, Olunga chose China.
Brazilian star Oscar while making the switch to China a few weeks ago, admitted that money played a big role in the move. Oscar’s sentiments could be shared by Olunga, albeit silently. While money is certainly a key factor in the success of any player, Olunga could just have buried his rather illustrious and blossoming career unless something really spectacular happens. His dreams of playing at the Bernabeu or the Emirates could just have gone up in flames.
One of the tacticians Olunga has always looked up to, Arsene Wenger has been critical of the league saying, “But I still think that, when you're a footballer, the first thing is that you want to play against the best players in the best teams. My thought is that when you want to be a football player, your first aspiration is to play in the best league, against the best players. That has to be the first target.” Olunga, probably, thinks otherwise.
There is little to suggest that beyond being a star attraction, a player has a real chance of growing and attracting massive attention from the club. For a player just starting his career abroad, Olunga should have probably sought to play in clubs with greater exposure. Probably, one playing in the Champions League.
Rather than export players, the Chinese League has been buying players more. Majority of whom are past their sell by date, like Tevez. Will he excel there? These are real testing times for Olunga.