Olunga begins life in Qatar on losing note

Al-Duhail forward Michael Olunga before their QSL match against Al-Sadd at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on January 12, 2021.

Photo credit: Pool | Al-Duhail SC

What you need to know:

  • Olunga, who started his career at Liberty Sports Academy, is not the only foreign player at Al-Duhail.
  • The Qatari champions, who are under the tutelage of Frenchman Sabri Lamouchi, also have two Brazilians and a player each from Morocco, North Korea, Tunisia and Iran.

Michael “Engineer” Olunga began his life in Qatar on a wrong-footing after his new employers Al-Duhail threw away a lead to lose 3-1 to leaders Al-Sadd in a Qatar Stars League (QSL) match at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Tuesday.

Sudanese-born Qatari Almoez Ali put Al-Duhail 1-0 up in the sixth minute from the spot. Xavi Hernandez’s Al-Sadd responded eight minutes later through forward Baghdad Bounedjah.

The Algerian international doubled the lead for the hosts in the 50th minute, before wrapping his hat-trick in the 87th minute.

Olunga started the match and played played for 66 minutes before Khaled Muhammad replaced him.

The loss leaves Al-Duhail in second place with 27 points, but with a tall order to defend its title after Al-Sadd opened a gap of 11 points at the top of the 12-team league after round 14 matches.

Al-Duhail entered that crucial fixture with four straight defeats against Al-Sadd, but had been on form after chalking up five wins on the trot ahead of the top-of-the-table clash, Al-Sadd had won eight all competitions, including the last two, and drawn once.

The 26-year-old Kenyan international centre-forward joined Al-Duhail after two and a half seasons with Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol. He played 72 matches for Reysol (42 in J1 League and 30 in J2 League) and scored 58 goals. He also netted thrice in six matches in the Cup competitions for Coach Nelsinho’s side.

Other clubs Olunga has played for in his career are Tusker, Thika United and Gor Mahia (Kenya), Djurgarden (Sweden), Guizhou Zhicheng Hengfeng (China) and Girona (Spain).  

Olunga, who started his career at Liberty Sports Academy, is not the only foreign player at Al-Duhail.

The Qatari champions, who are under the tutelage of Frenchman Sabri Lamouchi, also have two Brazilians and a player each from Morocco, North Korea, Tunisia and Iran.

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