Mulee, Kimanzi confident Oliech will shine again
Former Harambee Stars head coaches Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee and Francis Kimanzi have backed former captain Dennis Oliech thrive yet again in the world of football.
Oliech held talks with Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Free State Stars’ top management on Wednesday, as he looks close to come off a two and half-year playing silence by signing for the club.
According to Free State Stars head coach Luc Eymael the talks went on well and they will work on the finer details of the deal when they gather for pre-season on June 18.
Mulee and Kimanzi believe this could be the right opportunity for the striker to revive his football career.
“If Roger Milla played until he was 40, nothing should stand in the way for Dennis (Oliech) to make a comeback. He loves playing football, his passion to make a comeback can’t be doubted. We are hoping that he will make a successful comeback, there is only one Dennis,” Mulee, who called up Oliech to Harambee Stars first said.
According to Ghost, the environment that Oliech will play in will be key in his surprise comeback.
“The South African league is so professional, they have enough facilities that can help him rise again,” added the tactician.
Mulee, regarded the football father to Oliech ,for having granted him a national team spot at 18, insists with proper surrounding the striker still has what it takes to shine again.
The Menace as he is fondly known among his fans is remembered for among other achievements, the winning goal against Cape Verde that took Kenya to the 2004 African Cup of Nations under the leadership of Mulee.
“Normally when a player has been out for that long he needs like three to six month to be back at his best, and for him a good preseason while help him much.
“It’s all in the mind, Oliech has pass power, passion and he is very lethal in front of the goal, that’s for sure. Age is just but a number. I’m sure when he is back to his best the world will know, because he has that unique zeal which could catalyse his resurgence,” he concluded.
Oliech is one of the most respected Harambee Stars figures having scored 33 goals off 77 caps for the national team.
He also played under current Mathare United head coach Francis Kimanzi during his reign as the Stars boss.
“That’s definitely good news to Kenyan football, he is a hardworking player , passionate of the sport and just needs a good preseason for him to be at his best . The PSL environment is good enough for him to regain his physical fitness and the old sharpness quickly ,” Kimanzi exuded.
Oliech has been off club football since leaving Dubai Cultural Sports Club where he spent half a season after three seasons with Ajjaccio in the French League One.
September 6, 2015 is when he played his last match for Harambee Stars in Kenya’s 2-1 loss to Zambia at the Nyayo National Stadium, in an African Cup of Nations qualifier under the then head coach Bobby Williamson.
Kimanzi opines the move by Oliech demonstrates positive attitude, that he needs further to actualise his dream, borrowing a leaf from players who have taken long breaks before resuming with a bang.
Michael Karen (L) of FC Barcelona contest for the ball with Dennis Oliech of Mwati FC during the Dagoreti Cup 2016 final match at Ndurarua Grounds in Nairobi on January 2, 2017. Mwati FC won 2-1. At the time of the match, none foresaw the comeback of Oliech to professional football. Photo/Oliver Ananda/Sportpicha .
“Sometimes when you are out for that long and you get an opportunity like that all you need is be positive psychologically and work hard. He needs to emulate the likes of Santi Carzola who with almost nine operations, still has not given up,” Kimanzi told Citizen Digital.
Former Stars teammates James Situma and Allan Wanga are equally optimistic that Oliech, who played to the height of UEFA Champions League (UCL) with French side Auxerre, can surprise the world.
“Oliech is legend and we would all want to see him back to his best. I believe he as the right mental strength to make a great comeback,” averred Situma.
He is a fighter and through his hard work, he Kenya was known to the world as a football nation I wish him all the best,” fellow striker Allan Wanga, who is still active with Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Kakamega Homeboyz noted.
News about Oliech trials with Free State have evoked a debate of a possible comeback to the national team too, considering the goal-drought the team has been going through over a time in competitive matches.
The blessing of Girona FC man Michael Olunga who was tipped to take over the goal poaching role of Oliech for Kenya after the latter retirement notwithstanding, coaches have come and gone all lamenting of low prolificacy.
In fact, even in that Zambia match he played last for Stars, Oliech, though unfit and far from his previous speed and work rate, was by comparison among Kenya’s finest.