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Olunga to debut at 2020 FIFA Club World Cup

Last updated 1 month ago | By Washington Onyango

Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga. [Courtesy]

Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga will debut at the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup after his new club Al-Duhail SC from Qatar were handed Al Ahly in the quarter-finals of the Fifa Club World Cup to be staged in Qatar on February 4.

In the draw held in Zurich, Switzerland on Tuesday, Duhail, a club Kenya’s striker Olunga signed for a week ago, will face the African champions with the winner coming up against Champions League winners and Bundesliga Kings Bayern Munich.

The other matches will see Tigres UANL from Mexico face off against Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea.

The winner here books a semi-final date against South American champions, who will be known when Brazilian sides Palmerais and Santos face off in the CONMEBOL final on January 30. 

Just last week the competition saw Auckland City withdraw from the tournament due to the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine measures required by New Zealand's authorities.

This gave Al-Duhail the ticket to the second round without breaking sweat. Auckland cited tough coronavirus restrictions in their own country.  

2020 FIFA Club World Cup Qatar trophy

The team’s exit left six competitors representing global governing bodies of Uefa (Bayern Munich), AFC (Ulsan Hyundai), Concacaf (Tigres UANL), Caf (Al Ahly), Qatari league champions Al-Duhail along with a Conmebol representative that will be confirmed after the Copa Libertadores final.

Olunga will become the second Kenyan to feature at the Club World Cup after McDonald Mariga.

The former Kenyan international midfielder was part of the Inter Milan side that thrashed DR Congo’s TP Mazembe 3-0 in the final of the 2010 Fifa Club World.

Olunga recently signed for Duhail from Japan, where he had a stellar season with Kashiwa Reysol as he won the Golden Boot – after scoring 28 goals – and was also voted the Most Valuable Player.

During the week he arrived in Qatar, Olunga made his Qatar Stars League debut in Al Duhail's 3-1 loss to Al Sadd and he played for 67 minutes.

The 2020 FIFA Club World Cup was originally scheduled for December last year, but postponed to February due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Semi-finals are slated for February 7, third-place playoff and final on February 11.

On Tuesday, Olunga came in the second half as Duhail managed to snatch a 1-1 draw against Qatar SC in another league match.

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