Football Football

Amrouche claims role in Origi switch


ADEL-AMROUCHENAIROBI, Kenya, May – 14 Harambee Stars head coach Adel Amrouche, alleges he played a role in Kenyan born Divock Origi declaring for Belgium ahead of his selection in the country’s provisional squad for the Brazil World Cup.

The French Ligue 1 Lille forward will be the first player of Kenyan heritage to play in the Mundial having decided to pledge his international career to the nation of his birth and has represented Belgium at the Under 15 and 16 sides.

Origi, a son of retired Harambee Stars striker and former record scorer, Mike Origi Okoth, was recently promoted to Belgium’s Under 17 squad in their tie against Montenegro and his elevation is now complete after featuring in coach Marc Wilmot’s World Cup plan.

“If I had a player like Origi I could be the happiest man but I was with the Belgium head coach in the last coaching course in Germany and we talked about the player. Maybe I persuaded him indirectly to consider him for World Cup because I told him if he does not select him I will give him 100 percent opportunity to play for Kenya.

“But I think it’s a personal choice and I respect his decision since I don’t think he did not like his country because his father played for Kenya. We can get another Origi here, so I hope I will work together with youth coaches to bring players in the likes of Dennis Oliech, Macdonald Mariga, Jamal Mohamed and Victor Wanyama because we cannot reach the standards of Origi,” Amrouche who compared Origi with Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba stated.

On his part, former captain and AC Ajaccio striker Oliech who supplanted his father as Kenya’s record international goal scorer congratulated him.

“I’m happy for him, I know he is capable and he deserved the call up since he has all the qualities.

“We have played together in France and what I can say is only to wish him all the best,” Oliech whose side were relegated as Lille qualified for the Champions League underscored.

The 19 year-old began his professional career at Racing Genk, where his father helped the club win the Belgian Jupiler league in 2001/02 season.

The forward has so far scored five goals for Lille this season and his call up to the national team means he has the chance to line-up alongside stalwarts such as Manchester City Captain Vincent Kompany, on loan Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard, Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini and Arsenal defender and captain Thomas Vermaelen.

Belgium are in Group H alongside Fabio Capello’s Russia, South Korea and Algeria.