Scottish-based Jonah Ayunga eyes chance to repay father's sacrifices ahead of Harambee Stars debut

19th March 2024

Ayunga was born to an English mother and Kenyan father in Beaminster, England.

Harambee Stars foward Jonah Ayunga. PHOTO| FKF
Harambee Stars foward Jonah Ayunga. PHOTO| FKF
  • Ayunga has been called up to the Harambee Stars on two previous occasions but has never featured for the team.
  • The St. Mirren foward hopes to get his maiden debut when the team plays in Malawi this time round.
  • He will complete for the starting berth against captain Michael Olunga, John Avire and Gor Mahia's Benson Omalla.

English-born Kenyan forward Jonah Paul Ayunga is eager to play his first-ever competitive match for Harambee Stars.

The St. Mirren forward, born to a Kenyan father and an English mother, is part of the squad that is finalizing its preparations ahead of the inaugural four-nations tournament which kicks off in Malawi later this week.

Speaking during a press briefing, Ayunga disclosed what donning the Kenyan jersey for the first time would mean to him considering the sacrifices undertaken by his father.

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“It will be amazing. My dad came to England when I was quite young, when I was just born.  He sacrificed a lot and misses his family. So, I think if I can do that for him it will be amazing,” commented the player who has previously had stints with the likes of Bristol Rovers and Brighton & Hove Albion's U23 side.

The 26-year-old added that he will take full advantage of any chance he gets to play for Kenya and hopefully get to cement his name in the starting lineup.

“I came in 2017 and 2018, but because I didn’t have the Kenyan passport the first time and then the camp was cancelled the second time, I never got the chance to train properly with the team or play in a match.

This is a great opportunity. The first time that I would hopefully get to impress the coach and play in the tournament,” noted Ayunga.

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He went on to describe himself as a powerful player, who does his best to help his teammates win games through hard work, running with the ball and scoring as many goals as possible.

Ayunga, who was born in Beaminster, England to a Kenyan father and English mother, also acknowledged that there is a lot of competition for starting positions in the Harambee Stars team.

According to him, it is beneficial to the national team when no one is guaranteed a starting position since it makes everyone put in extra effort.

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The pacey winger ended by describing the atmosphere in the training camp as an amazing one and revealed that every member of the team has been helpful to him.

The Engin Firat-coached side is slated to open its campaign against hosts Malawi on Saturday, March 23 at 6 PM Kenyan time.

Besides Kenya and Malawi, African heavyweights Zambia and Zimbabwe are also set to play in the tournament. 

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