Harambee Stars players Olunga and Akumu enjoying life abroad
Harambee Stars players Michael ‘Engineer’ Olunga and Anthony ‘Teddy’ Akumu have said that they are enjoying their football life abroad.
In a wide-ranging interview with Nation’s sports magazine show, TopSport, Olunga, flanked by Akumu, said the script was going according to plan in Stockholm, and that he is relishing the battle that comes with challenging for the golden boot.
“So far I’ve scored eight goals in the league and I’m not very far off the top scorer. Perhaps I need to get a hat-trick to close in,” the 22-year-old, who turned professional at the beginning of this term, said. Vidar Oern Kjartansson of Malmoe FF tops the goal scorers charts with 14 goals.
Akumu, on the other hand, who had a fairy-tale run with Zesco United in the Caf Champions League reaching the semifinals said that he’s learnt valuable skills in the Zambian League.
“Every game has been a learning experience. Kenya’s league is a bit slower compared to Zambia and again when it comes to management its way better. Matters of money is never an issue,” he said.
After starting life rather slowly in Stockholm, Olunga got to his best form mid-way through the season under new head coach, Mark Dempsey, and his burst of speed, positioning, ferocious left foot and clinical finishing have so far yielded eight goals in nine matches.
The former Gor Mahia ace also recounted the tough times he faced at the beginning.
“You have to work hard and bear in mind that you are from Kenya and that you are fighting for places with locals. When I went there (to Sweden) I had to put in extra work because there were four strikers in the team. Initially I was benched a lot but I did not despair. I worked hard in the gym and did extra sessions and when the new coach (Dempsey) came in, he gave me a chance and I took it,” a brimming Olunga, donning his trademark short dreadlocks said.
“It was a very big challenge, but I knew I was in Europe for a purpose. I had to work extra hard because I knew there were millions of Kenyans who looked up to me so I kept asking myself what I had to do to be one of the best in the league.”
With age on his side, the Lucky Summer born and bred striker said that the hoped to score many more goals for the national team but pointed out that he did not want to be compared to the now retired Dennis ‘The Menace’ Oliech, whose goals saw him engrave his name in the books as one of Kenya’s best forwards.
“I have 10 goals for the national team but I would not like to be compared to Oliech (Dennis) or any other striker. I just want to play my part,” the left-footed striker who plundered 19 league goals for Gor Mahia last term as they claimed the league title unbeaten said.