Harambee Stars Blow: Olunga Out, Were In For Ghana AFCON Qualifier

Mar 12 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

Japan-based striker ruled out after suffering hamstring injury as Zambia's Zesco forward makes a comeback to the national team

Striker Michael Ogada Olunga celebrates Harambee Stars goal against Ghana on September 8, 2018. PHOTO/File

  • In his place, French head coach, Sébastien Migné has called up former SportPesa Premier League side Tusker FC marksman Jesse Were, who plies his trade at Zambian champions Zesco United FC with the team set to report to camp on Sunday (March 17) ahead of the clash in Accra that will be played Saturday week (March 23)
  • Olunga, 24, has become a hit at Kashiwa Reysol with fans chanting his name and unveiling banners hailing the lanky forward after finding a rich vein of form in the second division J2 League, netting thrice in as many appearances
  • The recall of Were means there is no place yet in Migne's plans for Kenya record scorer and Gor striker, Dennis Oliech, who is yet to prove to the Frenchman he can lead the line for Stars having come out of retirement to play for the SPL champions after a two year hiatus

NAIROBI, Kenya- Dependable striker, Michael Ogada Olunga, has been ruled out of Harambee Stars final 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ghana, the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) announced on Tuesday morning.

In his place, French head coach, Sébastien Migné has called up former SportPesa Premier League side Tusker FC marksman Jesse Were, who plies his trade at Zambian champions Zesco United FC with the team set to report to camp on Sunday (March 17) ahead of the clash in Accra that will be played Saturday week (March 23).

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"Influential Harambee Stars forward Michael Olunga is out of contention for a place in Kenya’s final squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier against Ghana. This is following a hamstring injury the forward picked up in their 1-0 win over Albirex Niigata that has since ruled him out for the next three weeks," FKF said in a statement posted on their website.

Olunga, 24, has become a hit at Kashiwa Reysol with fans chanting his name and unveiling banners hailing the lanky forward after finding a rich vein of form in the second division J2 League, netting thrice in as many appearances.

The former SPL champions Gor Mahia FC top scorer who led them to the 2015 title has netted eight times for Stars in 18 appearances and famously forced Black Stars defender, Nicholas Opuku to put the ball into his own net in Kenya's sensational 1-0 victory over the three-time African champions Ghana on September 8, 2018 during their Group F clash in Nairobi.

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On October 14, 2018, Olunga, opened the scoring in the 23rd minute as Stars romped to a 3-0 victory over Ethiopia in Nairobi to put them on the brink of a first AFCON final that was confirmed when continental governing body CAF banned Sierra Leone from the competition.

The recall of Were means there is no place yet in Migne's plans for Kenya record scorer and Gor striker, Dennis Oliech, who is yet to prove to the Frenchman he can lead the line for Stars having come out of retirement to play for the SPL champions after a two year hiatus.

Oliech is the only active player from the Kenyan squad that last played in the AFCON, creating two and scoring against Burkina Faso as Stars crashed out in the group stages of Tunisia 2004.

The 2019 AFCON finals will be held in Egypt between June 21 and July 19 with Stars set to pitch a 3-week camp in France ahead of the biannual continental showpiece.

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