Olunga: Kenya star named J1-League MVP after winning Golden Boot

Michael Olunga wins JL Award of Kenya and Harambee Stars.
Michael Olunga.
The towering striker becomes the first African to win the award in the Japanese top-flight

Kenya international Michael Olunga has been crowned as the J1-League's Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the concluded 2020 season.

The lanky striker scored 28 goals for Kashiwa Reysol and helped them to a seventh-place finish in the concluded season.

The Sun King finished the season as third best scorers with 60 goals. Champions Kawasaki Frontale scored 88 while Yokohama F Marion, who finished ninth, scored 69.

Olunga played a great role for the club and his influence led to his crowning as the best in the concluded season.

"It was a great season for me in 2020," the Kenya international told Goal after being crowned on Tuesday.

"I was able to score a lot of goals. I would like to thank the people at Kashiwa Reysol for their support. I am very honored to be Kashiwa Reysol's first top scorer and the first African MVP."

The 26-year-old has further revealed his hopes for the league and African players at large.

"I hope that what I have achieved will have a positive impact on Japan and on the rest of the world," he continued.

"I hope that the J-League will continue to be the best football in Asia and that more and more African players will play in it."

The former Gor Mahia striker went on to appreciate his colleagues as well for their role in his achievements.

"Glad to be named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) 2020 in the Meiji Yasuda J-league," Olunga posted on his social media account.

"First, I want to thank God for this opportunity and blessings throughout this season.  

"Also, the collective effort from myself, my teammates, the entire Kashiwa Reysol fraternity and fans helped make this dream realizable for me, and for this, I am grateful. 

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"I hope this is the beginning of more achievements in my career. Thank you all once again and happy holidays."

Olunga, who played 32 games for Kashiwa Reysol in the 2020 J1 season, also won the Golden Boot.

This was the first time an African player won the MVP in the J1-League.

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