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Injury scare overshadows Olunga’s milestone with Al Duhail SC

Wednesday, December 6th, 2023 15:36 | By
Michael Olunga celebrates after scoring for Al Duhail SC. PHOTO/Al Duhail SC
Michael Olunga celebrates after scoring for Al Duhail SC. PHOTO/Al Duhail SC

Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga limped off in what looked like an injury during Al Duhail's Asian Champions League match against Iranian side Persepolis.

Olunga, in a rare occurrence, started from the bench, came on to score, and was out after 21 minutes in what is feared to be an injury.

The club has, however, not revealed why the former Kashiwa Reysol striker limped off during Al Duhail's dead rubber encounter in Tehran.

Olunga replaced Mohamed Muntari, the scorer of Al Duhail's first goal, in the 63rd minute but lasted until the 83rd minute, when he left the pitch and Mohamed Al Naimi came in to take his place.

Al Duhail had already been eliminated from the continental showpiece, but it was a good day for Olunga, who scored and added to his Champions League goal tally. The former Thika United and Gor Mahia striker is the club's all-time top scorer in the competition, and the goal against Persepolis was his 19th.

Although it is not clear how long he may remain sidelined, Olunga's absence is set to be a big blow to the Qatar Stars League champions, who have been depending on the Kenyan for goals.

Scare for Firat

A long injury spell could also mean Olunga will not be available for Engin Firat in the next Harambee Stars' engagements.

Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga training at Kasarani. PHOTO/(@Harambee__Stars)/Harambee Stars/Twitter
Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga training at Kasarani. PHOTO/Harambee Stars/Twitter

He has been a mainstay figure in Firat's team and recently led Kenya in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Kenya lost 2-1 to Gabon and defeated the Seychelles 5-0 in the two qualifiers held in November.

Olunga was among the scorers in the second qualifier that was held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and the goal came after he had been criticized for not putting in enough effort while turning out for the national side.

Should he remain unavailable for a longer spell, it means Firat will look upon Masoud Juma for goals. Gor Mahia's Benson Omala, the current leader in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League season and who recently returned to the Harambee Stars fold, is another viable option.

Kakamega Homeboyz's Moses Shummah could also be involved if Firat considers Omala not his option.

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