Michael Olunga adresses harsh criticism amidst goal-shy performances in recent World Cup qualifiers

Michael Olunga adresses harsh criticism amidst goal-shy performances in recent World Cup qualifiers

Mark Kinyanjui 18:00 - 17.06.2024

While Olunga is taking full responsibility for his failiure to find the back of the net against Burundi and Ivory Coast, he appeared to suggest some of the criticism pointed towards him was harsh.

Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga has addressed the harsh criticism he has faced from fans following his profligate performances in Kenya’s last two 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Burundi and Ivory Coast. 

Despite his efforts on the field, Olunga's failure to find the net has led to increased scrutiny from supporters.

Kenya currently sits fourth in Group 'F' with five points, trailing behind leaders Côte d'Ivoire (10 points), Gabon (9 points), and Burundi (7 points). The Gambia is in fifth place with three points, while Seychelles remains at the bottom with no points.

In their recent matches, Kenya drew with Burundi due to a last-minute lapse in concentration. Against Ivory Coast, the team adopted a defensive 4-5-1 low block strategy, transitioning to a 3-5-2 formation on the counterattack. 

Despite creating clear-cut opportunities, Kenya failed to capitalize, with Olunga missing a significant chance midway through the second half. However, he did set up Timothy Ouma for a potential goal, which ultimately went unconverted as Olunga’s follow-up shot hit the side netting.

Addressing the criticism, Olunga took responsibility for the missed opportunities but emphasized the need for a balanced perspective.

 “As the team captain and the face of the national team, I have to lead from the front and take responsibility when things go south,” Olunga said, as quoted by The Star.

 “When I score goals, I get some flowers and when I miss chances, I get bashed. But we shouldn't dwell too much on negatives," added the Al-Duhail striker, who has scored two goals in four qualifiers.

Olunga's comments highlight the pressures faced by prominent players and the importance of constructive criticism as Kenya looks to improve their standing in the World Cup qualifiers. 

“Things didn’t work to our expectations. However, we have to look at the positive side of things. We have to fight hard in the remaining six games to ensure we finish at least second to grab a playoff spot," added Olunga.

As Kenya continues its campaign, Olunga's leadership and perspective will be crucial in maintaining team morale and striving for better results in the upcoming matches.

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