Kenyans abroad: Goals for Olunga, Makwata
Skipper Victor Wanyama’s sideline at Tottenham Hotspur continued as the midfielder was once again left out of the team as they beat Mbwana Samatta’s Aston Villa 3-2 at Vila Park.
Harambee Stars players had their fair share of good tidings over the weekend, handing coach Francis Kimanzi a shot of confidence ahead of next month’s 2021 AFCON and 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
In Japan, Michael Olunga continued from where he stopped last season in the Japanese J2 league as he scored the lone goal in Kashiwa Reysol’s 1-0 win over Gamba Osaka in the first match of the J League Cup. Olunga netted with a sublime finish in the 24th minute finishing off a one-two change of passes with a teammate.
“Hopefully the first of many,” Olunga tweeted after the game.
The forward who was rumored to be on his way out of the Japanese league after a stellar campaign in the second tier last season seems to have decided to settle down. He is expected to play an integral role for Reysol when they start their J1 league campaign next weekend.
Meanwhile in Zambia, another striker was on target, John Mark Makwatta scoring in Zesco United’s 2-2 draw with Power Dynamos. Makwatta found the back of the net to equalize late after stealing the ball off a stray pass to strike low past the keeper.
This was Makwata’s second consecutive goal for Zesco after scoring on his debut last weekend. Kenyan custodian Ian Otieno continued to command a starting role for Zesco, with Zambia’s number one shot stopper Jacob Banda kept out of the starting role again.
Jesse Were was in action as well for Zesco while defender David Owino watched from the bench.
Meanwhile in South Africa, midfielder Anthony Akumu who left Zesco for Kaizer Chiefs was a late substitute as the Amakhosi were beaten 2-1 by Maritzburg United. Akumu came on in the 91st minute for George Maluleka.
In Belgium, midfielder Johannah Omollo came on in the 82nd minute as Cercle Brugge picked up three points away to Sint Truiden to earn a massive shot in their bid to evade relegation. Brugge are placed bottom of the 16 team Belgian League with 17 points, three away from safety.
In the United Kingdom, Ayub Timbe finally made his debut for Reading FC, coming on in the 86th minute for Ovi Ejaria as they beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0. Timbe was signed on loan by Reading from Chinese side Beijing Renhe and has been slowly integrated into the team as he was off season in China.
Elsewhere in the same league, Kenyan youngster Clarke Oduor was on the bench as Barnsley beat Fulham 3-0 to boost their hopes of moving off the bottom of the standings. Oduor has been a regular for Barnsley but was rested for the game.
He was named the club’s player of the month in December and has been strongly making a case for himself to earn a call up to the national team ahead of the March assignments.
Skipper Victor Wanyama’s sidelines at Tottenham Hotspur continued as the midfielder was once again left out of the team as they beat Mbwana Samatta’s Aston Villa 3-2 at Vila Park. Wanyama has fallen out with the club’s hierarchy since two failed moves away from London at the beginning of the season and last month.