December 3, 2021

If Gods of goals stay with Olunga, Qatar a possibility – FKF president Mwendwa

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The Kenya striker is in a good goal-scoring form in Japan as he has scored in the last four matches and tops the scorers’ chart

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa is confident Michael Olunga can power the Harambee Stars to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Olunga has been in sensational form for Kashiwa Reysol and the latest outing against Nagoya Grampus on August 1 saw him score his ninth goal of the season.

The former Thika United, Tusker and Gor Mahia striker has scored in each of the last four games and is atop the J1 League scorers’ chart with nine goals after eight games.

“The Gods of goals stay with you Michael [Olunga], Qatar is a possibility,” Mwendwa tweeted after the Harambee Star scored on Saturday.

Olunga, who has forged a close relationship with Kashiwa Reysol fans, dedicated the win to his teammates as they bagged a fourth victory in five matches.

“At the end of the day when I score it is teamwork,” Olunga said after his strike helped the 2019 J2 League champions beat Nagoya Grampus.

“Of course, I scored the winning goal but it was teamwork and especially we have to give credit to our defence, they were really solid at the back, they absorbed pressure from the first minute and wish to thank all the players for sacrificing and making us win four matches in a row.”

The Harambee Stars are in Group E of the World Cup qualifiers alongside neighbours Uganda, Rwanda as well as Mali. The winner of the group is guaranteed a place in the final phase of qualifiers.

The second round of the World Cup qualifiers will see the top 26 ranked Caf teams joined by the 14 winners from the first round. The teams have been drawn into 10 groups of four teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches, with the winners of each group qualifying.

All the four teams in Group E are fighting for a first-ever slot at the World Cup. Kenya will be seeking a slot in the global competition after their previous 13 attempts failed.

The Harambee Stars reached the second round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers but were defeated by Cape Verde with a 2-1 aggregate.

Olunga, then playing for Gor Mahia, scored the only goal for the Harambee Stars at Nyayo Stadium before they stumbled away in Praia.

Kenya’s chances of participating in the qualifiers, though, remain unresolved due to the Adel Amrouche case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Fifa demanded that the FKF pays the coach over KSh109 million shillings for wrongful dismissal if Kenya are to take part in the qualifiers.