NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2-Just like the engineer he is, Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga has managed to construct the steps back to top form after initially struggling at the start of his career with Swedish top tier side IF Djugardens.
The former Gor Mahia forward has so far scored six goals for the club after starting the second leg on a high and believes it’s just the start of a better career with the club.
“It has been a good period since the second half of the season started. I have played more regularly and it has given me confidence. As a player when you have confidence things start working well. For me, it was all about getting that one goal and it has opened up everything,” Olunga told Capital Sport.
The striker has scored three goals in the last five matches including the winner at home against bottom side Gefle last weekend, scored in the 2-2 draw against seventh placed Elfsborg and a brace in the side’s 3-1 win over fourth placed IFK Goterborg.
He had initially struggled to acclimatize to the weather, food and language as well as the intensity of the Swedish League, but he says he has worked his way and is now fully settled at the team’s base in Stockholm.
“I tried to do my level best on and off the pitch, continue working hard because at the end of the day I have to take the food and get used to the weather. I motivated myself and slowly, I have managed to get used to everything. At least now I can speak 50% of Swedish and it’s a bit easier to communicate,” the former Gor Mahia forward asserted.
Djugardens are placed 13th on the 16-team Swedish top tier on 22 points, three off the relegation play-off zone with 10 matches before the season folds.
Olunga hopes he can use his new found form to inspire the side to continue the revamp in the second leg and finish in a respectable position.
“At the moment, I target to score more goals as possible to give myself more confidence. This season has been tough for us especially in the first leg when we lost many games and it affected the morale of the players. Right now we are planning to pick more points to finish stronger,” Olunga affirmed.
He says the club’s target next season will be to fight for a top three slot, an achievement that will see them qualify for European football which has been the striker’s biggest hope since landing the move to Sweden.
Olunga hopes to translate the same form to the national team Harambee Stars as they play Zambia’s Chipolopolo in their final 2017 African Cup of Nations Qualifier on Sunday in Lusaka.
Though it will be a dead rubber match with neither of the two sides standing a qualification chance, Olunga says the match will be of importance especially as far as FIFA ranking is concerned.
“No game is less important because at the end of the day it’s still an AFCON qualifier. Even though we are out, we are going to fight for the country and hope to finish in a better position. If you look at the FIFA rankings, a win against Zambia who are higher placed than us will give us more points,” he opined.