Dennis Oliech: Harambee Stars Legend Calls for Football Overhaul in East Africa to Compete With West

Dennis Oliech: Harambee Stars Legend Calls for Football Overhaul in East Africa to Compete With West

Robert Abong'o
updated at February 8, 2024 at 3:59 AM
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D. Oliech
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  • Dennis Oliech calls for a total overhaul of East Africa's football strategy
  • The ex-Harambee Stars striker is part of a legends crew in Ivory Coast
  • Former Auxerre striker urges Kenyans to cultivate a football-centric culture

Harambee Stars icon Dennis Oliech has issued a stark warning, suggesting that Kenya's bid to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations could be in jeopardy unless essential infrastructure is in place within the next two years.

Oliech stressed the need for East Africa to adopt a new strategy akin to football powerhouses in West Africa to level the playing field.

He highlighted the robust football infrastructure and facilities in West Africa as crucial factors contributing to the region's success, contrasting it with East Africa's lagging performance on the international stage.

Dennis Oliech during his Auxerre playing days. Photo: Philippe Merle.
Dennis Oliech has called for change in East Africa's football strategy. Photo: Philippe Merle.
Source: Getty Images

The top scorer for the Stars, currently attending the 2023 Afcon in Ivory Coast among other African legends, echoed concerns about Kenya's readiness to host the continental tournament, citing discussions with a FIFA official.

"I've had conversations with a FIFA representative who stressed that we must be prepared within two years; otherwise, we risk losing the hosting rights," Oliech disclosed during an interview as reported by Citizen.

In addition to his concerns about infrastructure, Oliech expressed intentions to contest for the presidency of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), pledging to usher in a new era of leadership free from self-interest.

Furthermore, the former Auxerre striker urged Kenyans to cultivate a football-centric culture to propel the nation to prominence in the region, drawing parallels with Ivory Coast's genuine passion for the sport.

Drawing comparisons between East and West Africa, Oliech emphasized the pervasive nature of football in the latter, where it serves as a beacon of opportunity amidst economic hardship.

" Every small space is turned into a football field. Poverty is very high, and they consider football the only way to rectify that, unlike Kenyans who value education,” he remarked, as quoted by Capital Sports.

Oliech partnered with a non-governmental sports organization in October last year to launch a talent search program for young people in Dagoretti, Nairobi.

Named The Dare To Dream Festival 2023, the initiative aimed to unearth sporting talents among the youth.

The festival showcased five sports disciplines, including football, basketball, freestyle football, eSports, and spoken word.

Oliech takes part in AFCON 2023 legends match

Sports Brief reported on Dennis Oliech’s inclusion in an AFCON 2023 Legends match in Ivory Coast.

The game aimed to showcase the vast talent Africa boasts in terms of its football over the years.

The match was headlined by Africa’s top scorer at the World Cup - Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan.

Robert Abong'o photo
Robert Abong'o
Editor - Africa Team