Kenya international Michael Olunga continued with his goal-scoring prowess in Japan as he grabbed a goal but could not help his side Kashiwa Reysol as they suffered a 3-1 defeat against Yokohama F. Marinos on Sunday.
The former Gor Mahia striker had gone for two matches without finding the back of the net but against Yokohama, he put his side in the lead in the 40th minute after powering home a header from a corner kick.
However, Yokohama turned the heat in the second half and managed to level matters in the 77th minute through Erik Lima. This was before Takuma Ominami scored an own goal to make it 2-1 in favour of Yokohama.
Daizen Maeda then powered home the third in added minutes to end Resyol’s fight to grab at least a point from the match.
The defeat has seen Reysol drop to the eighth position in the 18-team league table with 30 points from 19 matches while the win enabled Yokohama to jump to position 13th with 20 points from the same number of matches.
Olunga and Resyol will now shift their focus to the next league match against Yokohama FC on Saturday.
Despite his current form, Kenya’s Harambee Stars will not be able to use the player in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers set for November.
The Harambee Stars, under the tutelage of coach Francis Kimanzi, are scheduled to play Comoros in Nairobi on November 9 before clashing with the islanders in Moroni four days later.
However, Goal exclusively reported on Friday Olunga, will not be able to travel for the two matches, as well as the planned friendlies against Zambia and Sudan.
A source close to the player told Goal Kashiwa Reysol are not ready to release Olunga for the international assignment as the player will miss seven matches should he travel to Kenya owing to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
“Japan have put in place tough rules owing to Covid-19 and it might not be easy to have Olunga for the Afcon qualifiers against Comoros home and away,” the source, who did not want to be named, told Goal on Friday.
“Why Kashiwa Reysol are concerned is because should they release the player to play for Kenya, then when he returns to Japan, he will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine and in that period they have important league matches to play, so they are not ready to release the player.”
Apart from the foreign-based players, Kimanzi will have a headache to pick his squad for the double-header with the KPL yet to resume after the government extended the ban on contact sports until further notice last Friday.
In Group G, Comoros, who started their campaign with a 1-0 win against Togo before settling for a goalless draw against the Pharaohs, lead with four points.