Divock Origi; to play or not to play for Kenya

Somewhere around the time Mike Okoth Origi marked his third year in Belgium, a bundle of joy presented itself in the name of Divock Origi. For all the troubles and hustles that he had to go through to find his way in the Belgian league; those that involved a stint at Shabana Kisii, Kenya Breweries and to the famous 1992 AFCON games- 19 years later a huge decision seems to have to be made.

Whether in silence or in actions, Kenyans have come to appreciate the talent in Mike’s son and no matter how you view it, would love a part of it.

In around 35 Ligue One games in a Lille shirt, he’s gone on to score six goals and on more than thirty occasions sung along to every single word of the “La Brabanconne” albeit at junior level.

Its then not surprising therefore that Divock has attracted interest from far and wide, the most synonymous of them being Arsenal and Liverpool.

The fuss though doesn’t end there; a change in club (Of Arsenal’s or Liverpool’s stature) would be good- but alongside it, the Kenyan FA would love a change in country loyalty too.

How about that?

Not surprising at all, thoroughly agreeable and not just him, all around us are examples of young men like him who’ve gone on to represent the countries of their fathers, even grandfathers origins without ever really growing up in them.

READ: National team eligibility rules: FIFA, UEFA, the IOC and the CAS

Well, there also those who on the contrary have chosen to play for the countries they grew up in even though in real sense hold citizenship or trace their roots to other nationalities.

That brings me back to Divock’s case, while he has the choice of playing for Kenya, the other choice; the one many Kenyan would cringe is that he can also play for Belgium.

Belgium goes to the World Cup in 2 months’ time and Divock having represented the Junior National side and having had a decent season honestly can lay claim to a ‘consideration’ for selection by Marc Wilmots.

Two situations therefore present themselves above and while a split second decision determines fates of a career, a country(ies) and even a moment of history, the outcomes are only two; triumph and envy.

But how did we find ourselves in this situation?

In an earlier piece I wrote on this blog, I did mention that clubs need to realize that they are the biggest shareholders of football in any country.

Today, Divock is a product of Racing Genk who’s made inroads into the National team and now lays claim to a position. It’s just a coincidence therefore that Divock is ‘Kenyan’ but the real cultivators, irrigators and gardeners of this work is the ‘Belgians’.

It’s in this regard therefore that why would a product of their farm be sampled as a product of another, that isn’t making any efforts, if so- very minimal?

In all honesty though; the situation is agonizingly desperate as Kenya looks for the next striker 12 years after Dennis Oliech made his maiden Harambee Stars appearance.

If he chooses to join the Harambee Stars which I hope he does join; the general feeling will be that he will be exclusively the ‘glamour’ of hope for Kenyan striking rather than a work in progress or an addition to an already existing arsenal.

Should he fail in this regard; the ambience of natural disenchantment and ungratification that has greeted the likes of Taiwo Atieno shall in a pile escort him back to his European base.

Despite this though, the ardency associated with being ‘Divock’ will be there for the world to see. Like we know how, JKIA would come to a standstill, cameras would never stop clicking away during training and to the rafters; we would all come to witness a star.

The decision though to play or not to play for Kenya rests on him and his word, alongside his family’s of course. But before then, in light of his eligibility for Kenya allow me quote the “La Brabançonne.

À toi nos cœurs, à toi nos bras, (To you we stretch our hearts and arms,)
À toi notre sang, ô Patrie !  (With blood to spill for you, O fatherland!)

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