Kenya and Kashiwa Reysol forward Michael Olunga has been named J1 League Most Valuable Player of the Month for August.
Olunga has had a stellar performance in Japan’s top league and is the current leading scorer in the Golden Boot race having netted 15 goals from 14 matches.
The former Thika United and Tusker striker opened the month of August with a goal against Nagoya Grampus as Kashiwa Reysol won 1-0. On August 5, the striker did not feature even though Kashiwa Reysol emerged victorious against Shonan Bellmare with a slim 1-0 win.
After missing the Shonan Bellmare win, Olunga returned to the fold on August 8 and scored a 62-minute goal which ensured Kashiwa Reysol and Yokohama F. Marinos drew 1-1.
The Kenya international was on target once again in mid-August when he scored an 88th-minute goal even though Kashiwa Reysol fell at home to Cerezo Osaka with a 3-1 scoreline.
The former Gor Mahia forward was at it again as he found the back of the net against Andres Iniesta's Vissel Kobe on August 19. His 76th-minute goal was one of the three that Kashiwa Reysol scored away from home to emerge with a 3-2 win.
On August 23, Olunga did not manage to get his name on the scoresheet as Kashiwa Reysol registered a goalless draw against Oita Trinita.
After failing to find his way past Oita Trinita, the Kenyan recorded a brace in the next match day - on August 29 - against Kashima Antlers. His goals were not enough though to help Kashiwa Reysol avoid a 3-2 home defeat by their J1 League rivals.
After 15 matches and with Olunga's immense contributions, Kashiwa Reysol are fifth on the log with 26 points and a goal difference of plus nine.
His exploits in his maiden top-flight campaign led to praises from the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa. Mwendwa believes Olunga’s form will be key in Kenya’s African Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers.
“We must hold such friendlies because we need to gauge how fit our players are. But I am happy [Michael] Olunga is scoring goals in Japan and I think, he is one of the best in the world now,” Mwendwa said in a recent interview.