He entered the annals of history as the youngest Belgian player to have ever scored for the Belgium national team during the 2014 FIFA World cup in Brazil. At only 19, Divock Okoth Origi was the second teenager- after Lionel Messi in 2006- to have scored in the World Cup. The then Lille forward would not have been in the 2014 Belgium squad had Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke been fit. His inclusion was sheer luck; most of the players admitted that they had not ‘seen him’ before the squad was announced. So why include a Belgian in a website dedicate to who is who in Kenya?
Divock Origi’s father, Mike Okoth Origi, is a Kenyan national who played for Shabana FC, Kenya Breweries (renamed Tusker FC) before turning pro in Belgium where he went on to win Belgian Championship with Genk. Interestingly, Okoth started out as a goalkeeper before discovering he was a lethal striker.
Divock Playing for Kenya
Divock would be playing for Kenya if the country’s football federation wasn’t the shambles it is. In an interview he granted Daily Nation Sport in 2016, Okoth said his son had considered donning the Kenyan jersey but opted to play for Belgium ‘Red Devils’ after reading about the tiff between the federation and league. “But obviously there were other issues (to consider), like playing at the Euros or World Cup for a big national team in Europe.
“Nevertheless, Divock is a Kenyan with a Belgium passport. He speaks fluent Kiswahili, comes to Kenya often and enjoys Kenyan food the most,” The father said on other factors that made his son opt out of playing for Harambee Stars.
Liverpool-(2014-2015) (2015-2016) seasons
The Belgian player with Kenyan roots was signed by Liverpool from Lille on a five year £10 million contract. Origi was loaned back to Lille for the 2014-2015 season. His performance at Lille was a mixed bag of fortunes. His stature as an accomplished striker grew in the 2015-16 season when he played for Liverpool. He was oft played as substitute and went on to score five goals having played for a total of 666 minutes in the English Premier League (EPL). He was used as a first choice striker in 7 games. Origi scored a hatrick in the 6-1 demolition of Southamption. He also scored a crucial away goal against Borussia Dortmund 1-1 draw.
It was a pretty good season for the forward who had to fight for his position given the caliber of strikers Liverpool had. Origi played for 1460 minutes and scored 7 goals in the EPL.
Loan to VFL Wolfsburg (2017-2018 Season)
The striker moved to VFL Wolfsburg and made an impact almost immediately. He was the Rookie of the month nominee and his future at the Volkswagen Arena was all secure. Wolfsburg sporting director Olaf Rebbe had kind words for Origi saying of their signing: “We’ve really strengthened our forward line with Divock Origi,” Rebbe said back in August. “He has shown his abilities at club and international level, and has tremendous experience for a player of his age. He’s quick, dangerous, and can beat his man in one-on-one situations. He’ll make us more unpredictable up top.”
Then his form dipped. Origi who was searching for regular playtime ahead of the World Cup was laboring badly to score goals. Criticism followed and talk of the player finishing his loan spell on the bench dominated sports pages. He played 1966 minutes and scored 6 goals.
Out of World Cup Squad
Divock was left out of the Belgium World Cup squad thanks to his unflattering season at Wolfsburg.
Salary of Divock at Wolfsburg
The 23 year old salary is pegged at £15,000 per week (kes2,014,953.98) while his current market value is placed at 10 million euros.