Of Oliech and Kenyan Football

Football is funny or let me say hilarious to honour my English. Like many sports disciplines, many times, potential and promising has not developed into a polished talent. When it comes to explaining why George ‘blackberry’ Odhiambo, Patila Omoto, or Ibrahim Kitawi never matured into the players we expected them to become, every opinion owner will paint a shade that is unique to their understanding of the game. There lies the problem with Kenyan football, too many hanging and unfounded answers to simple problems.

Football is funny or let me say hilarious to honour my English. Like many sports disciplines, many times, potential and promising has not developed into a polished talent. When it comes to explaining why George ‘blackberry’ Odhiambo, Patila Omoto, or Ibrahim Kitawi never matured into the players we expected them to become, every opinion owner will paint a shade that is unique to their understanding of the game. There lies the problem with Kenyan football, too many hanging and unfounded answers to simple problems.

Let me look at Oliech also known as Denis the Menace or simply wuod Mary. Oliech is the best goal poaching talent we have produced in recent times. This explains why he has to be included in the national team even when he is unfit, throwing tantrums or even in a poor frame of mind. Look at it, when is the last time Oliech scored for Harambee Stars? You have to think very hard on it.

Oliech’s main strength has been speed. It is speed that enabled him to pull many thunderous shots into goals. Watching Oliech recently leaves you wondering why he is not scoring goals. The answer is simple, his fast pace is no more and he has not adapted to the change. Oliech must change the way John Baraza of Sofapaka adapted. He should score more goals by working less as in put in more brain and less brawn.

Did you know that Oliech has not scored for Kenyan in a competitive match in three years? The three goals he has scored, against Sudan in LG Cup, and South Africa and Libya in friendly matches. Yet, the national team technical bench and FKF insist on having Oliech play for stars.

FKF is not interested in facts and statistics about Kenyan football. Football is managed on biased opinions of those in charge. These opinions have no backing in terms of facts of any kind. Which defender or defending partners have secured the highest number of clean sheets in KPL? When we go for such facts when selecting the national team, then we are bound to see results. 

Even if the national coach is left to select a team, FKF can ask him for reasons behind his call ups. Adel Amrouche called up players who do not have clubs, or played in obscure leagues. 

Broken Pipeline

Oliech was a gem from secondary school ball games. The fact that he graduated into the national team and beyond is one of the few success stories from Kenyan football. The Secondary Schools Term 2 B games are coming to an end this weekend in Kakamega. Copa Coca Cola is also in progress, yet we have not seen a gem of talent polished from these two tournaments.

As long as KPL has not put down criteria and procedures to bring up young talents into the mainstream league, then forget about Harambee Stars posting good results. We have the talent, we just need a formula to identify, nature and release into the football world.

As Oliech is going into the twilight of his football career, he needs to look into his future. That is also what FKF should do. By depending so match on an ageing Oliech, FKF has proved that twelve years since Oliech broke into the scene, we have not managed to produce a better striker. There lies one of the bigger problems with Kenyan football.

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