Michael Olunga: Outstanding facts you need to know about the birthday boy

FOOTBALL Michael Olunga: Outstanding facts you need to know about the birthday boy

Kiplagat Sang • 16:00 - 26.03.2023

The star adds another year to his life, but what are his memorable career achievements?

Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga is celebrating his 28th birthday just two days before he leads Kenya against Iran in a friendly match.

Pulse Sports brings you some facts about the forward who has won the Kenyan Premier League, conquered the Japanese leagues, and scored a brace in the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Just two goals for Tusker

Although there were reports that Olunga attended trials in France after an outstanding season with Liberty Sports Academy in the Nairobi County League, the striker signed for Tusker.

His time with the Brewers was not as successful as he would have wanted, and he only scored two goals – in the 2013 season - before being loaned out to Thika United.

Gor Mahia's top scorer

From Thika, the towering striker signed for Gor Mahia and was part of the 2015 Invincibles that won the Premier League title with an unbeaten record under Frank Nuttall.

He finished the season as K’Ogalo’s top scorer with 19 goals as the club won their 15th record title.

On the final day of the season, he scored a goal in Gor Mahia’s 2-0 win over Muhoroni Youth.

Outstanding Djurgarden moment

After his time with K’Ogalo, Swedish side Djurgarden signed him – on a four-year contract - and he did not disappoint.

His first two goals came against IFK Goteborg in a 3–1 win, and he was also named the Man of the Match.

In the last 12 games of the Allsvenskan – Swedish top division - Olunga scored 12 goals, which earned him fifth place in the Allsvenskan top scorer table.

He was nominated for Newcomer of the Year in Swedish football by a jury of Allsvenskan coaches and journalists, as well as the coaches of the Swedish national teams.

However, Alexander Isak – currently at Newcastle United – beat the Kenyan to the award.

La Liga history

While playing for Girona on loan from Guizhou Zhicheng of China, Olunga made history when he scored – in a span of 22 minutes - a hattrick against Las Palmas in a La Liga game.

Olunga scored three goals on his Girona debut and became the first Kenyan and the first Girona player to score a La Liga hat trick.

Japan records

He played a key role in helping Kashiwa Reysol emerge as the J2 champions and earn a promotion to J1.

In the same season, the Kenyan scored 27 goals as he established himself as one of the key players for the Japanese side.

In the top division, he continued to be a menace to defenders as he finished the season with 28 goals, taking home the Golden Boot award for the 2020 season.

He also scooped the Most Valuable Player award, becoming the first African to win the coveted award in the J1 league.

Al Duhail’s best moment

After conquering Japan, he signed with Qatar Stars League side Al Duhail SC on a three-year contract.

His most memorable achievement so far is when he emerged as the AFC Champions League top scorer, although his team was eliminated in the group stage.

AFCON brace

Although many of Olunga’s memorable achievements have come at the club level, he has also marked his presence on the international stage with Harambee Stars.

When Kenya returned to the AFCON fold in 2019 in Egypt, the striker scored a brace against Tanzania on July 27.

The brace helped Kenya mount a comeback to win 3-2 against their CECAFA rivals.