Harambee Stars: Three players who scored hat-tricks for Kenya before Michael Olunga

Harambee Stars: Three players who scored hat-tricks for Kenya before Michael Olunga

Joel Omotto 04:56 - 28.03.2024

Michael Olunga became just the fourth player to score a hat-trick for Harambee Stars following his heroics against Zimbabwe on Tuesday, but who are the other three that did it before him?

Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga is basking in the glory of his hat-trick against Zimbabwe which earned Kenya the Four Nations tournament trophy following a 3-1 win on Tuesday.

Olunga drew Kenya level just before halftime after Joseph Okumu had scored in his own net in the third minute before turning the game around with two second half goals to complete his hat-trick.

The three goals saw Olunga inch himself in history as only the fourth player to score a hat-trick for Kenya, his feat coming 26 years since a Harambee Stars player managed such an achievement in a match.

So, who are the other players who scored a hat-trick for Harambee Stars?

Abdul Baraza

Former AFC Leopards midfielder Abdulrahman Baraza was the first to ever net a hat-trick for Harambee Stars when he scored three as Kenya beat Sudan 3-2 in a friendly match on December 12, 1966.

Three years since Kenya became an independent nation, Baraza gave the country the perfect Jamhuri Day celebration when he bagged three against the Sudanese to etch his name in the annals of history.

A midfielder with an eye for goal, Baraza was revered for his long-range strikes, an attribute that endeared him to Harambee Stars and Leopards fans.

“We got him from Mwenge in Mombasa. He was very good midfielder. He would score wondergoals from the middle of the pitch,” Mzee Steve Ogalle, who served as Leopards secretary general between 1970 and 1975, told Pulse Sports.

Mike Okoth

After Baraza’s heroics, Kenya would wait for 31 years before they saw another hat-trick from a Harambee Stars player.

That honour fell on former Shabana and Kenya Breweries [now Tusker FC] striker Mike Okoth who scored three past Burkina Faso in a 1998 World Cup qualifier in Nairobi on April 6, 1997.

In what was an epic match, Kenya won 4-3 at home in what was a tough fight. Harambee Stars went down 2-0 before Okoth brought them level but the Burkinabe would take a 3-2 lead only for Francis Were to equalise again. The home side, however, had the last laugh when Okoth scored the winner.

Burkina Faso would win 4-2 in Ouagadougou to claim an 7-6 aggregate win over the two legs but Okoth had made his mark.

Sammy Okoth

One year after Mike Okoth’s heroics, Sammy Okoth also made his mark by scoring a hat-trick in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Djibouti when Kenya won 9-1 in Nairobi on August 15, 1998.

Okoth gave Harambee Stars a 2-0 inside six minutes before Maurice Sunguti also scored a brace, in between Said Mahad’s goal for the visitors, and Francis ‘Killer’ Oduor would make it 5-1 after 30 minutes.

Okoth completed his treble in the 65th minute followed by a brace from Boniface Ambani while Oduor completed the rout five minutes from time to give Abdul Majid’s men one of the biggest victories in Kenya’s history.

With Olunga’s hat-trick coming 26 years later, Kenyans will be hoping that they will not wait for so long again to witness a treble from one of their players.

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