Any young Kenyan footballer who aspires to become a striker later in his career would like to become Michael Olunga.
It is the impact that the 27-year-old has had on his career that has seen him represent five clubs since he began his professional stay with Swedish side Dujardins in 2016. In that period, Olunga scored 93 goals in 138 appearances.
The player started this season brilliantly with his team Al Duhail, where he is currently at the top of the Qatari scorers list with 12 goals.
“I attribute success to hard work and staying focused even when you think all is lost. It is about believing that you can achieve great things and work wonders on the pitch,” Olunga told Fifa.com in an interview in 2020 after being named the best A player in the J1 League.
Kenyan striker Michael Olunga was the top scorer in the J1 League in 2020 with 28 goals.
He was named Japenese J1 League Player of the Year 2020 and was included in the J1 League Best XI.
He scored 27 league goals for Kashiwa Reysol in the J2 League 2019. pic.twitter.com/dmVPeeFIfZ
– Africa FactsZone April 22, 2021
In general, the governing body of world football FIFA ranked him as one of the most capable strikers Along with Cuban Marcel Hernandez, Casper Juncker from Denmark, Ramiro Roca or Argentina, and Rauno Sabinen from Estonia. This recognition came after Olunga scored 28 goals in 32 matches for Kashiwa Reysol. The feat he witnessed earned him the top scorer along with the best player award before moving on to his current station Al Duhail in Qatar.
Was this a rare feat or something he had done since his early days?
Olunga has a goal-scoring record wherever he goes. After graduating from the popular Liberty Athletic Academy, run by former Harambee Stars coach Jacob “Just Molly”, Olunga’s first taste of serious football came with Tusker FC in 2013 when he was still in school.
it’s a #tbt We celebrate Tweet embed His birthday is today.
Happy birthday 🐘🎂🥳.#TFC # Tasker FC pic.twitter.com/Jol4qz8bg5
– 🏆Tusker FC (@tusker_fc) March 26, 2020
He was joining the team that had just won the Kenyan Premier League and it was difficult to get directly into the first team. He was set to turn three goals in 15 games for the Brewers before moving to Thika United a year later; A club known for youth development.
It’s in Thika where Olunga has shown his true colors with more playtime coming his way. He was scheduled to finish the season with nine goals in 26 matches. With Liberty feeling he was ready for the big stage, a loan move ensued, just as he had done at Tusker and Thika, to Gor Mahia.
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Copy: Tweet embed #BKPLpic.twitter.com/1mjIxjevOi
– FKF Premier League (@Officialfkfpl) July 6, 2021
With better players at his disposal, Olunga had to score 29 goals in 27 applications for the Kenyan giants before he secured a move to Swedish side Djojardins. It was a rapid improvement for a player who has been tasked with filling in the shoes of retired Denis Olich.
Since 2016, the player has been on a whirl of improvement but rarely spends time with one club. In his first season with Djojardins, he scored 12 goals in 27 matches. He was to move to China with Guizhou to secure his services; This is the club where Olunga failed to replicate the scoring style that everyone is accustomed to because he has scored only two goals in the nine matches he has participated in.
Michael Olunga became the first Kenyan to score a hat-trick in La Liga when he came off the bench for Girona in a 6-0 win over Las Palmas. pic.twitter.com/piFl8msd8V
– Super Sport 🏆 (SuperSportTV) January 15, 2018
He moved to Girona on loan in 2017 and scored three goals (all of them were in a match against Las Palmas); The Kenyan only managed 144 matches before moving to Japan with Kashiwa Reysol.
So far, Olunga has been the most resplendent Rysol. In his first season with the Japanese team, he scored three goals in ten matches where they were relegated. While in J2 with the same team, he had to score 27 goals in 300 appearances to help his team move up. Upon his return to the J-League, he scored 28 goals in 32 matches to secure a move to his current station Al Duhail.
He came in the middle of last season with his team and continued to score six goals in 9 games and continued the streak this season, scoring 12 goals in seven games.
Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga talks about his new role as captain.# Tunisia pic.twitter.com/KGQzbHF5Jl
– Harambee Stars (@Harambee__Stars) March 23, 2021
Now captain of the Kenyan national team Harambe Stars, the player has scored 19 goals since his debut in 2015. While Kenya is out of competition in the 2022 World Cup, Kenya certainly has one of the top scorers in the game currently who will walk into any league and pop goals as previously proven.