In 2003, legendary footballer Dennis Oliech left Kenya to join Qatar side, Al-Arabi.
The top footballer played in the Qatar Premier League until late 2005.
However, in 2004, he had been offered Ksh 800 million to change his nationality from Kenyan to Qatari but he declined.
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But what would be the perks should he have changed his nationality and played for the Qatar National team?
Here is what WoK gathered about the same.
Moving to Qatar
Oliech moved to Qatar in search of greener pastures in 2003.
His move was not rosy as he had expected, he said he almost gave up while training in Qatar as he was denied chance to play.
In an interview with Jalang’o TV, Oliech said he spent three frustrating months in the country just training and not being allowed to play.
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“I would run away, pack my bags and head to the airport, but the officials there would ask for an exit letter from my employer. I did not have that because I was running away. I would return to the hotel room dejected
“I have come from poverty, how can I go back? I would cry daily. I know how to play ball but they are not letting me play,” he stated.
After three months of waiting, Oliech was finally given a chance to play although under a different name.
At the time, the former Harambee Stars striker said he did not care much about the name as he only wanted to be given a chance to play.
“The bus came and took us, I got to ride with Taribo West in the bus, I was even given the tracksuit for the team. Previously I would look at them and go upstairs and watch them
“Before the game began, they called Ferahan Mesad. I did not know who it is. It is later I was told that is me. I could not even pronounce the name,” Oliech recalled.
Ksh 890 million offer
After his first football match at Al-Arabi, the team won after many looses with his contribution attracting the attention of the Qatari Football Federation.
The federation wanted Oliech to play for the Qatar National team which means that he had to change his nationality.
Oliech was offered Ksh 800 million to renounce his birth country and given one hour to make a decision on the same.
“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
“I was told to change my citizenship and get paid Ksh 800. They gave me an hour to make the decision. I was asked to call my family and tell them that I’m changing my nationality. Most of the people I called only looked at the money,” he said.
“Only one person, Adam Nyakundi of The Insyder, advised me, ‘Des wewe ndio uko huko, you know the life there. Make the decision that best fits what you want.’ The money was a lot, they told me don’t worry about the money. We have a lot.”
Oliech turned down the offer, but in a past interview, he stated that he regretted not signing the deal to change his nationality.
“I would say I am 50-50 because right now if I am offered that amount, I will take it but it is too late. The way I know Arab countries, it was probably a wise decision then,” he said.
If Oliech signed the deal, he would have represented the Gulf country in the just concluded Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
For the 2022 World Cup, FIFA paid every player Ksh 1.2 million for every day they are away from their clubs, The Athletic reported.
Oliech would also be earning good money in salaries.
According to the Qatar Stars League (QSL), the basic salary of Qatari and naturalised citizen players is Ksh 340,000 (QR 10,000) per month.
The salaries were reviewed in May 2014 to better the life of Qatar National team players.
“This decision was taken to ensure that all the players in the QSL have a decent standard of living and also encourage Qatari players to keep playing football and not to other jobs where the wages might have been higher,” chief of Competition and Football Development for the QSL, Ahmed Al-Harami said.