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Oliech: Kenya legend reveals grave mistake that altered his career

21:19 EAT 07/05/2021
Dennis Oliech of Harambee Stars and Gor Mahia.
The former Harambee Star is now keen on helping the youth in the country realize their potential

Kenya legend Dennis Oliech has revealed he made a grave mistake by leaving French side AC Ajaccio for Dubai CSC in the United Arab Emirates.

The now 36-year-old had made 50 appearances for the Bears between 2013 and 2015, scoring eight goals in the process. When Dubai came calling, he grabbed the offer and made a move, something he regrets to date.

"I made a mistake when I moved from Ajjacio to Dubai, and that is how my career ended," Oliech said in an interview on Friday. 

"It was a grave mistake that pushed me to retirement. If I would have stayed in Europe then I would still be playing at 35 or 36 like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic. I still regret it but I am thankful for what I have managed to achieve."  

At Dubai, he made limited appearances before his form dipped and was forced to retire. After four years without competitive football, he opted to return to Kenya and sign for the 19-time Football Kenya Federation Premier League champions Gor Mahia.

His short stint was marred with misunderstandings with the club officials, including the alleged failure to settle his signing-on fee. Despite that, he still managed to score five goals in the 10 appearances he made before opting to walk out.

The former Kenya international has now set his sight on helping the youth realize their potential in football.

"We do not have active under-19, under-17, or even u-16 national teams in the country," Oliech continued. 

"It is what I want to do, to help set youth structures to help the country have that set-up. I am hopeful we can do better with the right structures, it is the only way to make football better in the country."

Oliech made his debut for the Harambee Stars in 2002 and went on to play until 2016.

During that period, he made 76 appearances and scored 34 goals in the process. He was part of the Kenya squad that played the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia under coach Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee.