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Uproar greets Govt response on Oliech

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3- Uproar greeted the announcement by the Kenyan Government in Parliament that it was not aware national football team captain, Dennis Oliech, had quit the team ahead of the crucial 2014 World Cup and 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers.

Sports Assistant Minister Kabando wa Kabando stunned MPs on Thursday with the statement adding that the French Ligue 1 AJ Auxerre striker has not formally communicated to either Football Kenya Federation (FKF) or the Government.

An attempt by Kabando to explain details of the contentious contract with the team’s sponsors, East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) that has led Oliech to issue his quit notice over image use was drowned by shouts of approval.

So was the assertion by the minister that a letter which has been posted on Oliech’s FaceBook account announcing his retirement from the national team as a rumour.

“The letter in the social media is not authentic and is neither addressed to the ministry in charge of sports nor to FKF, we therefore regard it as a rumour until such a time we receive an original signed communication from the mentioned player if at all such a later exists,” he said.

Makadara MP Mike Sonko tabled a copy of an email which he claimed originated from Oliech and copied to FKF where the captain says he has quit

“The minister is very aware that there are images of these international players all over the county; this agreement does not benefit the players,” the Makadara MP said.

He added; “I am challenging the answer by the Minister he does not know his job, he is not conversant with the soccer activities in this country.”

Sonko cited one such billboard which bears the images of Oliech, Macdonald Mariga (AS Parma, Italy) and Bob Mugalia (Sofapaka, Kenya) which has displayed on various roads around the country.

The minister got a rare support from Nominated MP Rachael Shebesh who said EABL had not violated the contract as it was a continuation of the agreement that was signed with the national team last year.

Kabando cited two parts of the agreement in which Article 5.9 states “The right of the sponsors to use the images of members of Harambee Stars for promotional and advertising activities and they shall include branding rights for Harambee Stars official stationary.

“The other article states that sponsor shall have the right to place advertisement on the team collectively or on members of the team individually,” he said.

Temporary Speaker Ekwe Ethuro deferred the debate on issue and directed the minister to investigate Oliech’s claims and brief the House on Tuesday.

Oliech wrote an official letter to the federation on Wednesday regarding his decision to quit.

The new development comes on the day the Minister of Sports Dr. Paul Otuoma was reprimanded in Parliament and asked to explain the debacle involving the Auxerre striker, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and national team sponsors EABL.

But Kabando insisted that Oliech will be at of the Stars team that is preparing for 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and 2014 World Cup qualifiers that begin in June.

– Report by Laban Wanambisi

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