Engin Firat labels Michael Olunga world-class, backs French-based defender to join Premier League soon

Engin Firat labels Michael Olunga world-class, backs French-based defender to join Premier League soon

Mark Kinyanjui 07:00 - 15.05.2024

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has waxed lyrical about some of his key players ahead of their June world cup qualifiers.

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has described Al-Duhail captain Michael Olunga as one of the best strikers in the world.

Olunga, who has been plying his trade for Al Duhail in Qatar since 2021, has been scoring goals for fun both in Qatar and the Asian Champions League, and played a crucial role in helping the side win the domestic treble last year, whilst winning the golden boot.

Al Duhail have struggled this year, but Olunga has maintained individual levels of brilliance whenever fit. He has now scored 21 goals in all competitions so far this season, and was the hero during the Malawi Four Nations tournament, when he netted five goals in two matches to help the side win the invitational tournament.

Speaking to Turkish outlet Anadolu Agency (AA) earlier this month in May, Firat was quick to praise some of his key players, singling out Olunga, who he once described as the best center forward he had ever coached last September.

“Michael Olunga, who plays in Qatar, is a very extraordinary centre-forward. I can say that he is one of the best strikers in the world right now; he has scored seven goals in the last 3 national matches,” Firat said.

Firat has backed Stade Reims defender Joseph Okumu to ply his trade in the English Premier League soon after taking to Ligue 1 like a duck to water in his first season.

Okumu’s rise to prominence has been key. The 26-year-old has quickly established himself as an indispensable member of every backline he has been part of since the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

It was a tournament that effectively opened doors for him, as he became one of the standout players although Kenya were dumped out of the group stage, having finished third on three points, but to be fair, they were in a tough group that included Senegal and Algeria, the two eventual finalists.

He would earn a move to Sweden’s IF Elfsborg, where he was so brilliant, he had managed to get into the team of the season by his second season there, before he earned a move to Belgium’s AA Gent.

At Gent, he performed equally well, helping his side reach the quarter finals of the Europa Conference league, while also making SofaScore’s Belgian team of the season.

His remarkable rise would only mean a move to a traditional top five European league was inevitable, and so he joined Stade de Reims in the summer.

At Reims, he is continuing to show that the sky is not the limit and before too long, could even move to a bigger club that plays Champions League football on a regular basis

 He also spared some praise for Portugal based star Johnstone Omurwa, who has been Okumu’s preferred defensive partner for the national team when fit.

“Many players are playing in Europe. You will see Joseph Okumu, who plays for Reims in France, in the Premier League soon.”

“We are talking about such a player. There is Omurwa, who plays in Portugal. Currently, many star candidates are in our national team.”

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