Former Sofapaka striker Ronald Okoth has said Michael Olunga should not be in a rush to leave Japan’s J1 League.
The Harambee Star has scored 23 goals in the same number of league ties for Kashiwa Reysol and is the clear leader in the Golden Boot race. His exploits in the maiden season in the Japanese top-tier have led to some pundits claiming he is above the competition and should now look to secure a move to a higher level league.
Olunga emerged as the runner-up in the J2 Golden Boot race after he scored 27 goals last season to help Kashiwa Reysol earn promotion back to the top-tier. His goal-scoring form has not dipped as he stepped up into the J1 league, given the number of goals he has scored in the ongoing season.
Although Okoth feels the Kenya striker has performed well in Japan since he joined Kashiwa Reysol in the J2 League, he cautions that the player should not be in a hurry to move on.
“Olunga has conquered the league and as a player, if you feel you want another challenge the best option is always to find another challenge in a different environment,” Okoth told Goal.
“But let us not lie to one another that the Japanese league is not competitive. Let us look at the progression of Olunga’s career and we can see he has the potential of performing in any league.
“He has performed in Japan and many see he is slightly above it and if I am asked he needs to seek another challenge.
“But again, one should not rush in making a decision that will have a great impact on his own career. If he gets a chance to join another league the better, but if it does not come he should remain where he is.”
AFC Leopards’ legend Charles Okwemba is one of the pundits who have asked Olunga to consider leaving J1 League for a bigger competition.
“If he wants to continue developing and grow career-wise, he has no option but to move,” Okwemba told Goal in an earlier interview.
“Olunga 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."
“We have seen players who are way below Olunga's quality play in the Premier League and make an impact.”
Olunga is expected to play a critical role in Kenya’s quest to qualify for African Cup of Nations (Afcon) and he has been named in the provisional squad to face Comoros in November.