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Kashiwa Reysol's Olunga is ripe for the Premier League - AFC Leopards legend Okwemba

17:24 GMT+4 05/10/2020
Michael Olunga of Kashiwa Reysol and Kenya.
The former Kenya midfielder is optimistic the towering striker has what it takes to be successful in England

Charles Okwemba believes it is high time for Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga to leave Japan's J1 League for another challenge.

The towering Kenya forward has been a hit in Japan since joining Kashiwa Reysol in the second-tier and played a huge role in helping them get promoted. He has since scored 42 goals for them in the 51 matches played, and this season, he has managed to score 19 goals.

"Olunga has already conquered Japan and he is now ripe for a better challenge," the AFC Leopards legend told Goal on Monday.

"If he wants to continue developing and grow career-wise, he has no option but to move.

"He is still young and at his peak, he should be competing with the best in the world. I believe in his ability and potential; it is time for him to risk it in top leagues and I am confident he will prevail."

Some ambitious fans believe Olunga has what it takes to be successful in the English Premier League.

"We have seen players who are way below Olunga's quality play in the Premier League and make an impact," Okwemba opined.

"Olunga is class and will help any team he plays for in the league. However, he should target small clubs because the pressure is less as compared to established teams." 

Kenya will be playing Zambia on October 10 at Nyayo Stadium in an international friendly match as they prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying doubleheader against Comoros.

However, Olunga, captain Victor Wanyama of the Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Montreal Impact, and Johanna Omollo of Cercle Brugge of Belgium are tied by strict Covid-19 protocols imposed by their respective countries.

It is not yet clear whether the game will be played as scheduled. FKF president Nick Mwendwa revealed the government, through the Sports Ministry, is yet to give the clearance for the match despite writing two requests over the last two weeks.   

With Olunga missing, newly signed Napsa Stars forward Timothy Otieno, who played for Tusker FC in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) last season, will be the ideal person to lead the attack.