He is arguably one of the best and dependable new age strikers in Kenya today. Michael Olunga has a great future ahead of him. The towering centre forward was destined for the big stage after showing his class in the Kenya Premier League (KPL) and with the national team Harambee Stars. Olunga, who was named the KPL Player of the year in 2015 when he plied his trade in Gor Mahia, has had a mixed bag of fortunes in the top tier leagues.
The arrival of Michael Olunga in the top tier Swedish league on 17 February 2016 provided him with the stage he was yearning for. He knew he had to impress to draw the attention of scouts looking for fresh talents for more established European teams like Arsenal-and impress he did. His stint at Djurgardens IF was scintillating. His goal poaching skills saw him net 12 goals in 27 appearances earning him a fifth spot in the Allsvenskan top scorer table. The accolades followed and interest in his services were sought from a number of clubs which were turned down by his employer. The icing in his short stint in Sweden came when he was nominated for the 2016 Swedish Allsvenskan. He lost the prize to Alexander Isak but the message was clear: he was among the best players in the Swedish league.
Olunga joined the Chinese Super League in 2017 in what the local media termed as ‘a high profile Kes487 million transfer fee from Djurgardens IF’. He was bashed by his fans who felt he was wasting his best years by joining a club with a penchant of signing players in their career end. Sections of the media had reported that more competitive clubs like Real Betis, Galatasaray and CSKA Moscow had shown interest in Olunga’s signature. The striker rubbished the reports in an interview with Nation Sport saying no concrete offers had been made and only CSKA Moscow approached him: “CSKA Moscow had a list of three strikers they needed to sign – I and two other players who were free agents. I still had three years remaining on my contract and so my club could not release me without a buying clause of Sh388.5 million (3.5 million euros). They had the option to either sign the two free agents, or to give my club 3.5 Million euros. They went for the first option and within days the deal was off”, the player told the nation.
His performance at Zhicheng was at best lacklustre forcing the coaches to drop him. The marksman joined Girona in the Spanish La Liga on loan.
His salary was Kes12 million per month.
Although the player did not impress in the Chinese Super League, he went on to be shortlisted for the CAF African Player of the Year Award that went to Liverpool and Egyptian striker Mo Salah. This was, however, an affirmation of Michael Olunga talent. The player has had a rather uneventful season at Girona except for a spark of genius in the 6-0 demolition of Las Palmas. Olunga, who has had to portend with warming the bench, scored a hatrick for the La Liga debutantes on January 13,2018. Girona gave a good account of themselves by finishing tenth in the La Liga table standings. Olunga made eleven appearances as a sub, the club was not be interested in his services and did not renew his contract.
The player was also looking for a club that would guarantee him more playing time. Real Sociedad and Real Betis, laying 12 and 6 on the La Liga table standing respectively, had shown interest in signing the striker. The Chinese outfit was asking for kes700 million to offload the player.
Salary at Girona
Weekly-kes 3.25 Million
Monthly-Kes 13 Million
Market Value-kes 700 million.
Salary at Kashiwa Reysol
The 24-year-old move to J-League club Kashiwa Reysol from Chinese club Guizhou Zhicheng has been a blessing in disguise and not a demotion as it sounded at first. The striker has more playing time and his salary went up. According to multiple media reports, Olunga pockets Sh15 million per month (kshs3.75 per week)-Sh2 million more than his previous club.
Current Market Value
His market value stands at kes600 million, a decrease of kes100 million.
Other Interesting Facts About Michael Olunga
DOB: 26th March 1994
Primary school student at Babadogo Primary School
Secondary school student at Upper Hill High School
Undergraduate student at Technical University of Kenya, Bachelors Degree in Engineering
Played: Liberty Sports Academy, Tusker FC, Thika United, Gor Mahia, Djugardens IF, Guizhou Zhicheng, Girona
Nominations and Awards:
2015 Kenyan Premier League Player of the Year
2015-Cecafa Golden Boot
2015-Player of the Month for October (Supersports and Soka)
2016 Swedish Allsvenskan-Nominated for the Newcomer player of the year
Shortlisted: 2017 Caf African Player of the Year award