Blow to Kenya as Origi Named in Belgian World Cup Squad

Kenya on Tuesday lost out on one of the world’s hottest football prospects, after Divock Okoth Origi was named in Belgium’s provisional 24-man squad for the FIFA World Cup next month.

PHOTO | AFP Lille's Belgium forward Divock Origi (left) is congratulated by his teammates Ivorian forward Salomon Kalou (C) and Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gueye after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Lille (LOSC) and Valenciennes (VA) on April 12, 2014 at the Grand Stade in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, outside Lille, northern France. Origi was named in Belgium's 24- man squad for the FIFA World Cup next month.

PHOTO | AFP Lille’s Belgium forward Divock Origi (left) is congratulated by his teammates Ivorian forward Salomon Kalou (C) and Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gueye after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Lille (LOSC) and Valenciennes (VA) on April 12, 2014 at the Grand Stade in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, outside Lille, northern France. Origi was named in Belgium’s 24- man squad for the FIFA World Cup next month. AFP

This development confirms the country’s worst fears – the 19-year-old has finally opted to represent his country of birth at senior level, at the expense of his father’s home country.

“This (announcement) is a surprise; I did not expect him to be called up this early,” Divock’s father and manager who is also a former Kenya International Mike Okoth Origi told Nation Sport on phone from Belgium.

“So this is big news for him, but he has worked very hard this season and improved a great deal as a player.”

“I am certain he will light up Brazil. I also know it is unfortunate for Kenya that Divock has chosen Belgium, but this is not a lost opportunity (for Kenya) because we have many more talents in the country that only need to be nurtured to reach the highest level. Football is team work.” sais Okoth.

Okoth, whose expansive and successful football career that began at Itiero High School in Western Kenya, turned out for Shabana and Kenya Breweries (now known as Tusker FC) on the local scene, before moving to play professionally in Belgium.

Divock, who has recently been linked with moves to Liverpool and Arsenal, joins a star studded strike force that also includes, Chelsea forwards Romeu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, plus Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj who will be hoping to fire the ‘Red Devils’ to their first ever World Cup title.

This development will also come as a big blow for Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche, who has for the past one year consistently attempted to woo the youngster, who scored six times for his French club this season.

“We have been talking to him (Divock), he hasn’t said yes, and he hasn’t said no as well… talks are ongoing and I am remain hopeful he will join us” Amrouche told journalists during a press briefing last week.

– Daily Nation