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All smiles as Michael Olunga heads to LaLiga

Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga in a past training session in Machakos. [Sportpicha.com]
  • Macdonald Mariga was the first Kenyan player to play in the Spanish La Liga when he turned out for Real Sociedad in 2012
  • Olunga once scored seven goals while playing for Liberty Professionals in the Nairobi County league

The striker has failed to settle in China, scoring just two goals in seven rounds of matches.

Kenyan international striker Michael Olunga is on the verge of joining Spanish LaLiga side Girona.

According to his agent, the 23-year-old striker did not find enough playing time at Chinese side Guizhou Zhicheng, whom he joined less than six months ago.

"He is on the verge (of joining the LaLiga side). Everything will be confirmed in the next 24 hours," said Jacob Mulee, who manages Olunga.

Olunga has been angling for a move back to Europe where he began his professional career after leaving former Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia two years ago.

He joined Swedish side Djurgardens IF last year where he scored 12 goals in 27 rounds of matches. This encouraged him to move to China where he scored just two goals in seven rounds of matches.

The Kenyan striker began his career at Liberty Professionals before joining Tusker FC. After a one-year stint with the brewers, he moved to Thika United before joining Gor Mahia, where his career picked up.

He was named 2015 KPL Player of the Year after guiding the club to victory scoring 19 goals in 27 rounds of matches.

He was also a key part of the Harambee Stars national team last year and currently boasts 14 goals.

The striker has opted out of this weekend's international friendly match against Mozambique in Maputo as he stayed behind to sort out his future move.

Apart from Olunga, Harambee Stars will also miss the services of Ayub Timbe, who also plays in China, Victor Wanyama (England) and Johanna Omollo (Belgium).

Harambee Stars will leave Nairobi on Friday for the friendly match against hosts Mozambique.

Another team made up of local players left for Morocco yesterday morning to play two build-up matches against Togo and Mauritania. The team will be handled by Musa Otieno and Frank Ouna.

Ahead of Saturday's friendly, Stars coach Stanley Okumbi said he was not worried about the absence of key players.

"These are key players no doubt and we will miss them but at the same time, it is an opportunity for others to step up and show us what they can do. I believe we can still get good results," he said.

Elsewhere, renovation at Machakos Stadium has begun ahead of next year's Africa Nations Championships (CHAN). Sports Kenya has already handed over the facility and it will take 14 weeks to complete.