Kenya: Why Dennis Oliech's Afcon Dream Hangs in the Balance

Paramedics carry off-pitch Gor Mahia striker Dennis Oliech after he was injured during their Sportpesa Premier League match against Western Stima at Moi Stadium, Kisumu on May 5, 2019.

Dennis Oliech's dream of playing a part in next month's Africa Cup of Nations suffered a shattering blow on Sunday afternoon when he broke his arm during a SportPesa Premier league match between Gor Mahia and Western Stima at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.

Oliech, who started alongside Jacques Tuyisenge as lead strikers in Hasan Oktay's squad, collided mid-air with Western Stima's Junior Mukhisa in the 60th minute, lost his balance and landed awkwardly on his left arm.

He was then stretchered off the pitch and first aid administered on him, before being rushed to hospital in the waiting ambulance.

After reviewing the x-ray results on his arm, doctors at Nightingale hospital in Kisumu confirmed that the legendary Oliech had fractured his forearm, whose projected time for recovery is six weeks.

This means that the earliest the star striker will be back in training is June 9, just 12 days before the Afcon tournament kicks off in Egypt. Harambee Stars open their account on June 23 against Algeria.

Harambee Stars' Afcon squad will already have travelled to France for specialised training ahead of the high stakes continental competition. The Afcon-bound team, which will be unveiled officially this Thursday, is expected to leave for Paris on May 31.

"He has a fractured arm and will be out for the rest of the season," said K'Ogalo team manager Jolawi Abondo.

Oliech's injury elicited many reactions, with many taking to social media to wish him quick recovery.

The 34-year-old signed for K'Ogalo at the beginning of this year to much pomp and glamour, and his return to football action was widely acclaimed by his numerous followers.

He has scored five league goals so far, same as Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge, and was looking forward to playing a role in the Afcon competition before his impending retirement.

"If I am selected I will go (to Afcon). And I will do my job perfectly. I still have some four years left to play," he told Nation Sport two months ago during an exclusive interview.

Oliech, popularly known as Kajole, began his career almost two decades ago at Kakamega High School from where Mathare United plucked him and convinced him to join their youth team.

So steep was his career trajectory that in 2004, just after he scored the winning goal against Cape Verde Islands that sealed Kenya's qualification to the final tournament.

He featured for Al-Arabi (Qatar), Nantes (France), Ajacio (France), Auxerre (France) and Dubai SDS, before he retired from international football and went quiet for more than two years, before making the bold decision to reinvent himself at Gor Mahia in December last year.

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