Firat defends Olunga's struggles, offers advice to Homeboyz' forward Moses Shummah

Photo || Timothy Olobulu

FOOTBALL Firat defends Olunga's struggles, offers advice to Homeboyz' forward Moses Shummah

Mark Kinyanjui 08:06 - 10.03.2024

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has defended Michael Olunga's profligate performances for the side and also handed advice to Kakamega Homeboyz striker Moses Shummah.

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has jumped to the defence of Michael Olunga following some of his recent profligate performances in a national team shirt.

Olunga had scored just once in seven international appearances before his brace against Seychelles in Kenya’s last match of 2023, a game they comprehensively defeated their opponents 5-0

This has still not stopped fans from questioning his inability to find the back of the net in recent games, calling for Firat to identify a reliable striker who can compete with the captain.

However, Firat has defended Olunga, stating that his class is permanent despite his temporary blip in form.

“I know how many teams want Michael. I am happy he is with us. Every striker in the world, even the biggest in history, always had a time when they were not scoring so I am very relaxed because it is important that he scores in the important matches,” Firat said in a recent interview with Radio 47.

“The most important thing is the quality of a player. Every player has ups and downs. Michael has fantastic qualities.”

Firat is guttered for Masoud Juma, who suffered an achilles rupture earlier this year, an injury that could keep him out of action for six months, but is hopeful the forward will return to fitness in time.

“The next player we have after Michael is Masoud Juma and he is now out long term. He is a gifted player and I hope he will be back with us soon.”

Meanwhile, Firat has offered words of advice to three-capped international Moses Shummah, who rose to prominence in 2023 and also scored on his debut for Harambee Stars.

“I made it very clear with every player what I expect from them and I expect more from Moses that he develops more,” Firat said.

“I am not really happy that he is not getting enough playing time for his team (Kakamega Homeboyz), so he has to fight for it and then we will see more.”

Firat has also hinted that he will be giving chances to other footballers to see what they can offer at the upcoming Four Nations Tournament in Malawi this March, with strikers like Bandari’s Francis Kahiro, Gor Mahia’s Benson Omala among those who could get their chance to show what they can do.

“Coming into this tournament, it will be a chance for me to try new players and also maybe a new system to be ready for June and I think we will have some totally new faces in this tournament.

“To build a team, you don’t need just 11 players, you need a minimum of 23 and therefore we have to try new things till we get to a point where now I think we have two or three players and everybody knows what system we have to play and what we have to do.

“Then I can say, if he is missing, no problem and we are not at this point yet.”

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