Al Duhail coach grapples with striking dilemma as Olunga faces extended absence

©Al Duhail

STARS ABROAD Al Duhail coach grapples with striking dilemma as Olunga faces extended absence

Festus Chuma 12:42 - 09.12.2023

Al Duhail faces a striking dilemma with Michael Olunga's injury affecting their attack as fixture congestion looms large.

Qatar Stars League defending champions Al Duhail find themselves in a challenging situation as they prepare to face Qatar SC this Saturday.

The team's head coach, Christophe Galtier, has been confronted with a selection dilemma in the attack due to the absence of their star striker, Michael Olunga.

The Harambee Stars' captain recent hamstring injury, sustained during an Asian Champions League match against Persepolis, has left the team without their most dependable goal scorer.

In a pre-match press conference held ahead of the crucial clash at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Coach Galtier emphasized the significance of Olunga in the team.

"We still suffer from absences, the most prominent of which is the team striker Michael Olunga… however, we will reach the appropriate formation for this match and choose the elements that will help the team achieve the desired result," Coach Galtier stated.

The gaffer acknowledged the impact of external tournaments, citing the fatigue experienced by clubs, but also highlighted the return of key players like Karim Boudiaf and Luiz Martin in the previous match.

Olunga's injury has come at a crucial juncture for Al Duhail, who are eager to defend their league title after their elimination from the Champions League.

The former Gor Mahia striker has been a goal-getting machine for the Qatari side, and his absence poses a significant blow to their ambitions.

Al Duhail has not provided a definite timeline for Olunga's return or possible return dates, leaving fans and pundits speculating on how long they will have to cope without their star player.

Meanwhile, Galtier also spoke about the upcoming fixture conundrum facing the team, emphasizing the need to prepare a large number of players and give opportunities to young talents.

With a busy schedule on the horizon, including a match against Al Sadd on December 13 and another against Al Wakrah just three days later, the coach expressed concerns about the risk of muscle injuries if the same players are overused.

"The coming period will be full of matches, which will require us to work on preparing a large number of our players and giving opportunities to young players and those who did not participate in the previous period and make changes in the formation for fear of players being exposed to muscle injuries," Coach Galtier noted.

As Al Duhail strives to maintain their dominance in the Qatar Stars League, finding a suitable replacement for Michael Olunga's prolific goal-scoring ability will be a top priority.

The Frenchman and the team's management will have to strategize and make astute decisions to fill the void left by their injured star. 

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