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They can talk, but I’m happy – Olunga says on China move

Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga walks out of the tunnel prior to the international friendly match against Uganda in Machakos on March 24, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – When he made the move from Swedish top tier side Djugardens IF to join the swarming billions of the Chinese Super League with Guizhou Zhicheng, there were mixed reactions among Kenyan football fans on whether the move was right or wrong.

Most argued that moving to a weaker Chinese Super League considered as a ‘retirement home’ by many at a prime age of 23, it was tantamount to Olunga committing career ‘suicide.’

But the striker says he is not affected whatsoever in whatever people say and he is committed to taking his career to a new height, pointing out there is so much quality in the Chinese top tier.

“I think I cannot decide my life on what other people think. When I made my move to China everyone counted me out but I believe now is the right time. I just keep on working hard and soon everyone will see,” Olunga told Capital Sport.

When he scored Kenya’s solo goal against Uganda Cranes on Thursday in Machakos, Olunga tapped his wrist in earnest and he explained afterwards he wanted to tell everyone it is his time to shine.

“I wanted to tell them now is the time for the best to begin,” said Olunga.

The former Tusker, Thika United and Gor Mahia forward is yet to play competitively for his new side as he is yet to have his work permit approved but has been in action for the reserve team, scoring two goals and giving two assists in four games.

-Work hard- 

Michael Olunga stretches out during a training with national team Harambee Stars at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on March 23, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“I am hopeful that after the international break things will be sorted out but as at now, I am still working hard in training and if I get the opportunity to play for the team, then I will give my best. It is not like I am going to sleep going to China. It is a challenge which I am taking with both hands,” he noted.

Olunga also says contrary to popular belief, the Chinese League is a tough one especially with the influx of more players from top leagues in the world.

“The atmosphere at games is very good and now that more big players are coming in, it makes the league more interesting. It is not easy and personally, I am really waiting for an opportunity to get onto the pitch and get to play with these players,” noted the forward.

After two matches, Zhicheng is placed seventh on the log after picking back to back draws against Liaoning Whowin and Beijing Guoan.

They play their next match against Hebei China fortune coached by former Manchester City tactician Manuel Pellegrini and home to former Cameroon skipper Stephen Mbia and Argentine star Ezequiel Lavezzi.