Olunga reminisces over pains of being Harambee Stars player in current situation

© Michael Olunga

FOOTBALL Olunga reminisces over pains of being Harambee Stars player in current situation

Kiplagat Sang • 09:50 - 26.03.2023

The former Gor Mahia striker explains the toll some boardroom decisions and managerial blunders weigh on players.

Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga has recounted the pain and shame Kenyan footballers contend with after management blunders and boardroom decisions negatively impact the game. 

The skipper was reminiscing ahead of Kenya's impending friendly international against Iran.

The Al Duhail SC striker will lead the Kenyan team to play Iran on March 28, and this is Harambee Stars' first engagement since the FIFA suspension was lifted.

While Kenya lined up a friendly match, other African countries are engaging in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, something that Olunga says is tough for him.

"Of course, it is a dream for every player to participate in any major competition, and it is tough watching other teams play," Olunga responded when asked whether it is painful to watch the 2023 Afcon qualifiers without participating.

"Right now, teams are playing in the qualifiers, and we would have wanted to participate. But this was something beyond our control, but now we are starting from somewhere.

"The important thing is to make the most out of this opportunity from what we have for the preparation for the next AFCON assignment."

Kenya - although they had been pooled in Group C alongside Cameroon, Namibia, and Burundi – could not take part in the qualification process when CAF disqualified them following the FIFA suspension.

However, with the suspension now lifted, head coach Engin Firat hopes to help Harambee Stars qualify for future editions. The Turkish tactician is expected to rely on Olunga and other key players in the fight to grab a ticket for the upcoming AFCON tournaments.

As Harambee Stars target a return to the continental stage, Kenya is laying the groundwork to bid for the 2027 AFCON finals.