Qatar Gave Me One Hour to Ditch Kenyan Citizenship for Sh890 Million, Former Footballer Dennis Oliech Says


Qatar Gave Me One Hour to Ditch KenyanCitizenship for Sh890 Million, FormerFootballer Dennis Oliech Says

Retired Kenyan footballer Dennis Oliech has opened up about the Sh890 million offer he received from Qatar authorities to switch his citizenship.
In a recent interview, Oliech said officials from the Qatar football federation approached him a few months after he signed for Al-Arai FC from Mathare United.
The 36-year-old says his first three months at Al-Arabi were frustrating as he was not allowed to play, adding that he tried to flee to Kenya on two occasions. During the period, his team did not win any match.
“I trained for three months at Al-Arabi without playing any game, it was one hell of a journey. I tried to flee twice because I was frustrated. I would only train and go back home, train, and then go back home,” said Oliech, who was given the Arabic name ‘Ferhan Mesad.’
When he was finally included in the line-up, Oliech helped the team win its first match in three months, and subsequently rose from position 18 to third place in the league.
His football prowess caught the attention of officials from the Qatar Football Federation, who summoned him to try to lure him into changing his nationality and play for the Gulf country’s national team.
During a meeting with the officials, Oliech, who was 22 years old at the time, was offered millions of shillings to relinquish his Kenyan citizenship. He was given one hour to make his decision—he turned down the offer.
“Their national team was not doing well but they have heard there is one player called Ferhan Mesad, a top scorer and they wondered who is he and why is he not in our national team?”
“And they told me, come play for our national team and I told them no I am a Kenyan. They insisted I am Ferhan Mesad…so they told me I have to play for their national team and change citizenship. They gave me one hour to call my family and tell them I am a Qatar player now.”
When he was recently asked whether he regrets rejecting the offer, Oliech said, “I would say I am 50-50 because right now if I’m offered that amount I will take it but it's too late. The way I know Arab countries it was probably a wise decision then.” “There are people in Kenya working there and they are not having an easy time. If it was a European country of course I would have changed my nationality.”