I started watching football for all the wrong reasons.
I remember coming from my playscapades outside drenched in my own sweat one evening. I was trying to beat dad to the house. It failed because he was home early and had the best seat already. It was during the world cup. He was anxious for the game. I on the other hand just wanted to see this woman called Lillian Thuram. Or so I thought. As it turns out Lillian was a man. Well is a man, it’s not like he had a sex change and is no longer a man. I was in nursery, all Lillians were meant to be girls am I right.
Anyway, that is how I started watching football. And I found it strange. That men from different continents all together came in groups of eleven and the world would almost come to a standstill. There was J J Okocha, that guy from whom KANU borrowed their party title, there was a guy with 41 teeth called Ronaldo. Fine Christiano also has 50 but the other Ronaldo. Ooh, Zinedine Zidane. Men from every corner of this world. Except for the parts that were round obviously. This intrigued me. And I wanted to follow like my dad and brothers and my neighbors and the world. At that age when you believe everything on National NEWS is the truth even the weather.
Football is news all the time.
I didn’t fall in love with football fully until I met the legend that is Thiery Henry though. There was something about him that had an element of endearment even for a little girl like me. Well, that was a million years ago. Of course, it helped that God in his wisdom created Henry on a Monday morning. He was what modern girls like to call easy on the eyes. There was something solid about his demeanor on the pitch. Something genuine, real, authentic and passionate. That moved me and my relationship with Arsenal was thus born.
Many girls love football these days. Even those who think it’s just a group of 11 boys fighting over a round-air-filled object. Those who do not understand why the scores cant be made one side of the pitch.
Those who think the blow of any whistle is the end of the match.
My favorite is the lot that thinks the referees are an unnecessary addition on the pitch. Such joy. Girls love to look at boys play and get sweaty and later hear how much they earn and that makes these footballers even the more attractive. We think they are perfect and that they are immune to human experiences. We have placed them on false immortal pedestals that blind us from the realities they are forced to live just like any of us.
Dennis Oliech has recently hit national news for personal tribulations. It is reported that the former Nantes, Auxerre, Ajjacio and most recently Dubai CSC player is now a rag to riches and back to rags footballer. Once a prolific footballer and an inspiration to many, he has been shy and away from the cameras recently and such is the news that emerged.
He has been a topic of discussion on a number of social platforms run by some of the most powerful media houses. Being the social creatures we are, Kenyans have been quick to judge and unafraid to pen their dismay. Now we think he was a reckless Luo man with no financial wisdom. Who spent all the money he made playing international football on women, football lifestyle characterized by life on the Fastlane and not at all in investment. Be that as it may, none of us has seen or heard of and from Dennis in a hot minute.
See, we are quick to judge because we want him to have it all figured out. He makes money, he should have houses and homes scattered all over the place. He shouldn’t lack for anything, why should he when football teaches him the superpower to breathe pounds and dollars? We figure since he is a celebrity if he has an issue, he has Ronaldo on speed dial, Mariga at his disposal and their bank accounts access. We have held him and others alike to an unrealistic standard of perfection and immortality. As it turns out, he is just human and I don’t think he should apologize for it. Did you know that mama Oliech has been out of this country for medical reasons for close to half a decade now?
Well, cancer treatment is not a walk in the park.
It takes a toll on a person financially, physically, emotionally, psychologically and even spiritually.
While we lifted our noses all of last week and hated the manner in which he has handled his finances and allowed himself such a low life, he had to make tough decisions as a person. His mother has been receiving cancer treatment abroad and he has been footing the bill. When a man’s mother is ailing and is lying on what could possibly be her death bed, I imagine something in him shifts. His focus is on her fully, his will to save her at any cost is alive and his desire to go to any lengths to save her comes before all else, including an amazing football career.
There comes a time when all a legendary man wants is to save his mum, one more day. For this he will pay.
No Kenyan journalist has sat down with Oliech to talk about his life since terminating his contract. None. Yet he has hit national news with such horrid headlines. The man has been media awol for a long while now and to resurrect him with such distasteful lack of consideration is unprofessional in my opinion. I don’t have all the facts as it is, but neither do the people trying to tell his story in his absentia. These men have lives that include family and relations that run their circles. Their relatives take ill, their friends need them and their way of life is not any different from ours. Save for the privileges money accords them.
Every man has a story. Right now we have read the cover of Oliech’s and we have thrown judgment left right and center. Until we see his face and hear his narration in his own words, we have failed his greatness in not more than 140 characters.