Michael Olunga’s life journey serves as a remarkable source of inspiration and motivation. Hailing from the vibrant streets of Lakisama, Nairobi, this legendary figure, born on March 26, 1994, has risen to become one of Kenya’s most celebrated football icons. His tale of unwavering determination and ultimate success continues to kindle the aspirations of countless aspiring footballers.
Michael Olunga: A Concise Biography
Lakisama, Nairobi, witnessed the arrival of Michael Ogada Olunga into the world. At the tender age of seven, a poignant event transpired when his father, Joseph Ogada Olunga, passed away, leaving his mother, Alice Ogada, to shoulder the responsibilities of raising him. Together, they established their roots in the Nyanza region.
Michael’s academic endeavors showcased his dedication and aptitude. Following his impressive performance in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education Exam (KCPE), he embarked on his educational journey at Upper Hill Secondary School, eventually attaining a respectable B+ in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). Subsequently, he pursued higher education at Kenya’s Technical University, ultimately acquiring a profession as a Geospatial Engineer.
Emergence in Professional Football:
Olunga’s passion for football ignited at a young age, around eight, when he would enthusiastically partake in neighborhood matches, often resulting in a few childhood scrapes and bruises. His professional football journey commenced with the Liberty Sports Academy of the Nairobi County League. In 2012, he made waves by scoring an astounding 32 goals, propelling the squad to an undefeated status and earning them a promotion to the provincial league in Nairobi.
Subsequently, Olunga’s skills caught the attention of Liberty, leading to a one-year loan to Tusker on December 19, 2012. Though 2013 saw him in action for Tusker, he notched only two goals. Following his transfer to Gor Mahia from Thika United in 2015, he was temporarily loaned back to his former club. In a remarkable feat, he became the top scorer in the Kenyan league that year, with 19 goals, leading Gor Mahia to an undefeated league championship.
The football world soon recognized Michael Olunga’s talents, prompting interest from global football powerhouses. On February 17, 2016, he embarked on a journey overseas, joining the Swedish team Djurgårdens IF, where he made an immediate impact by being named the game’s most valuable player in his very first match. His tenure in Sweden was marked by an impressive 12 goals in 12 games, contributing significantly to his team’s top-five finish. His prowess earned him the title of “most promising newbie.”
In 2017, his stellar performance led to an opportunity with the Chinese club Guizhou Zhicheng, followed by a loan spell with Girona FC in Spain’s La Liga for the 2017-18 season. Here, he made history by scoring a hat trick in just 22 minutes, setting a La Liga record despite limited playing time.
Japan and Qatar Adventures:
In August 2018, Olunga made the transition to the Japanese team Kashiwa Reysol. His time in Japan was nothing short of remarkable, with a historic achievement of scoring eight goals in a single game during a 13-1 victory over Kyoto Sanga on November 24, 2019. His 2020 season was particularly exceptional, culminating in 28 goals and earning him the titles of most valuable player and Golden Boot winner in the 2020 J-League season, marking a historic moment as the first African player to be named the J-League’s Most Valuable Player.
Olunga continued his global journey by signing a three-year, €6 million contract with Al-Duhail, the defending champions of the Qatar Stars League, in January 2021. He has since solidified his reputation as a football maestro and a cherished asset to the club, consistently delivering standout performances and emerging as the league’s leading scorer in 2021.
Leadership in the Harambee Stars:
On March 28, 2015, Michael Olunga made his debut with Kenya’s national team. His memorable moment came during a friendly match against South Sudan, where he scored a crucial goal in a 2-0 victory. His continued excellence on the field led to the honor of being named the captain of the Harambee Stars, following Victor Wanyama’s retirement.
While not married, Michael Olunga has been in a public relationship with Grace, whom he introduced to the world in December 2016 on her birthday.
Olunga’s remarkable football career has brought substantial financial success. He commands a yearly salary of Ksh 180 million, translating to Ksh 15 million per month, Ksh 3,750,000 per week, Ksh 535,714 per day, Ksh 22,321 per hour, and Ksh 372 per minute. His wealth is evident in his ownership of a multimillion-dollar mansion in Nyanza, alongside an impressive collection of high-end automobiles.