Football

Olunga: Kenya captain reveals why he turned down Monaco offer in favour of his studies

Goal.com

Kenya striker Michael Olunga has revealed that he turned down an opportunity to join French side AS Monaco to pursue his education.

  • Olunga explains decision to reject Monaco transfer
  • Striker chose to complete his studies before moving abroad
  • Harambee Stars captain has been a revelation at Al Duhail

WHAT HAPPENED? The Harambee Stars captain was still a student at Upper Hill High School when French giants AS Monaco approached him with an offer to join their academy which has honed the careers of stars such as Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, but he rejected it in favour of completing his studies.

WHAT DID OLUNGA SAY? “A move that was so close but never really happened is when I was in high school,” Olunga said in an interview with NTV’s Sport On as quoted by Mozzartsport.

“Two weeks to the KCSE exams, I got an offer to join the Monaco Under-18 side. Everything at the time was ready so I had to choose between the KCSE exams and going to Monaco.”

“But I could not let four years of education go just like that because I knew I was going to do well in the examinations. Of course, however badly I wanted this opportunity to go to Monaco, I could not take it.”

“I knew something greater was in store for me and I just needed to unlock the situation so I had to choose KCSE over going to Monaco but it is a decision I never regret.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Olunga went on to perform well, managing a mean grade A – in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams – which earned him an opportunity to pursue a Degree in Engineering at the Technical University of Kenya.

A product of Liberty Sports Academy, the Al Duhail striker played for Kenyan Premier League sides Tusker FC, Thika United (now defunct) and Gor Mahia before joining IF Djurgarden of Sweden after which he signed for Chinese side Guizhou Zhicheng, Girona in La Liga and Japanese outfit Kashiwa Reysol.

It is from Japan that he moved to Qatari side Al Duhail where he has become a huge success, scoring 65 goals in 62 games, including 11 in 15 this season.

WHAT’S MORE? Olunga has advised fellow players to ensure they find a balance between football and education. “It [education] is something which I will also advice other football players. Education will play a bigger role in your football journey and they need to complement each other.”

WHAT’S NEXT? The 28-year-old is currently on holiday in Kenya with the Qatari league on a break to pave way for the 2022 World Cup.

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