Harambee Stars captain Dennis Oliech has turned his back on the national football team “to concentrate on his club career”.
This follows a row with the national team’s sponsors, East African Breweries Limited (EABL), over the “unauthorised use of his image” on the company’s billboards.
On Sunday night, he posted his retirement message on his Facebook page.
It read: “It is a sad day for Kenyan football. It is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement from the national team with immediate effect.
“Though I feel I have not achieved the desired goals at this level, it has been an honour donning the national colours and representing my beloved country. I will miss it immensely. Thank you.
“I would like to thank my team mates and staff members for the support they have provided me over the past years. I cannot forget as well, the unwavering support the fans have given me and Harambee Stars.
“I thank them for their contribution as I join them in backing Stars in their future endeavours. I feel I must put all my efforts to save my club (Auxerre) from relegation.”
On March 23, Oliech wrote to Football Kenya Federation (FKF), complaining that EABL had used his image on billboards “without his consent”.
He threatened not to honour any of Stars’ future matches until the issue is resolved.
After Oliech’s quit threat, Football Kenya Federation chairman Sam Nyamweya said they had set up a meeting on April 4 to arbitrate between Oliech’s lawyers and managers together with EABL officials to try and solve the matter amicably.
The meeting never took place, further complicating the matter as Oliech’s patience ran thin.
A clause in the contract between EABL and Harambee Stars Management Board allows the sponsors to use the images of the team and players for promotion at any time.
The contract does not specify names - whether one is a locally-based or a foreign-based player.
The FKF says it will look to convince the player to rescind the decision.