Harambee Stars talisman Michael Olunga has appealed to the government to partner with the relevant domestic football bodies to market the Kenyan leagues and upgrade football infrastructure.
The towering forward, who plies his trade with Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol, while heaping praises to the contribution of local-based players in the African Cup of Nations qualifier match against Ghana, reached out to the government to assist in marketing the local football leagues and putting in place sound football infrastructures to develop talent.
Olunga, a product of Liberty Academy, rose to stardom to become the first Kenyan player to score an hat-trick in the Spanish La liga while donning FC Girona jersey last season before switching to the less unheralded Japanese league. He believes hyping the local football leagues and building quality pitches across the country will see the country rise to new football level.
The former Gor Mahia and Tusker striker thanked the government for renovating Moi Stadium, Kasarani and further appealed to the Ministry of Sports to hasten renovation works at Nyayo Stadium. Besides, he wants new facilities erected across the country to enable the national team to consolidate support from all quarters.
He said: “It’s my plea to the government to help market the Kenyan football leagues and take good care of local-based players by ensuring they play on good pitches. It was clear against Ghana that the local-based players punched above their weights which speaks volumes of the calibre of players we have in our local leagues. Ghana had one home-based player and we still managed to cage them, a result which shows our players are equally good. I ask the government to establish football academies to nurture and develop young talent.
He added: “I thank the government for good state of the playing surface at Kasarani and I request the relevant authorities to finalise on Nyayo Stadium and build other facilities across the nation. It is through playing in different cities that can attract more fans in our match days.”
He further thanked fans particularly those drawn from Lucky Summer for supporting his football career from his childhood to present day. Olunga has always been captured marching to Stand 13 after every national team encounter at Kasarani to acknowledge the presence of the fans who are mostly drawn from Lucky Summer before heading to the other stands to applaud the fans.
“I am always thankful to Lucky Summer fans for their support in my career. I was born there and lived there for 21 years. They have always supported me and pushed me to work hard. I also want to thank all fans for their support. It’s always an honour to see them rally behind us.”