Michael Olunga: Harambee Stars Praised After Downing Zimbabwe in Four Nations

Michael Olunga: Harambee Stars Praised After Downing Zimbabwe in Four Nations

Martin Moses
updated at March 26, 2024 at 6:03 PM
In this article:
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M. Olunga
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  • Michael Olunga scored thrice as Harambee Stars beat Zimbabwe
  • The 3-1 result helped the side win the Four Nations Tournaments
  • They had beaten hosts Malawi 4-0 in the semi-final on Saturday

Michael Olunga scored a memorable hat-trick to help Kenya's national football team, Harambee Stars, beat Zimbabwe in the Four Nations Tournament.

The friendly games saw the side get rare plaudits from fans online as they won the first silverware under Engin Firat's reign.

Michael Olunga, Zimbabwe vs Kenya, Four Nations Tournament, Engin Firat, Harambee Stars.
Michael Olunga celebrates after scoring in a past game. Photo by Noushad Thekkayil.
Source: Getty Images

Zimbabwe took an early surprising lead after Joseph Okumu turned in a teasing cross from Tino Kadewere into his own net in the 4th minute.

Ayub Timbe had the chance to equalise proceedings in the 13th minute, but his effort only found the side net. The speedy winger was, however, not to be denied in stoppage time of the first half as his cross was met by Olunga, who restored parity just before the break.

Three red cards in Kenya vs Zimbabwe match

The game threatened to get away from the referee after a series of major calls went unchecked. He dished out three red cards with a member of the Zimbabwean technical bench getting his marching orders. Teenage Hadebe was the second person to head off for an early shower for two bookable offences before Kenya was reduced to 10 men as well after similar challenges by Richard Odada.

Odada's red card came right after Olunga had scored his fourth goal of the tournament. Gor Mahia's Rooney Onyango floated in the ball, which was parried away by Bernard Donovan, only for Olunga to fire in the rebound.

The Al-Duhail striker completed his hat-trick in the 88th minute with a beautiful curler from outside the area to take his tally for the tournament to five goals.

The win follows a 4-0 thumping of hosts Malawi in the semi-final game on Saturday. Zimbabwe had seen off Zambia in the other semi-final.

Reactions to Kenya's win over Zimbabwe

Kenyans flooded social media with praises after the back-to-back impressive wins.

@Roy_Marcel said:

"Give us Argentina and France combined; we don't have competition in Africa."

@Dave_mativo said:

"Very well played, we need to keep this momentum... this team should stay intact."

@eric_musyoki said:

"Congratulations. Let's take this spirit to the upcoming WC qualifiers, and we try playing stronger opponents in upcoming friendlies. Nigeria, Ghana."

While @jackson_Nyagochi said:

"Proud of you guys; that's what we do, and that is how we do it; take your flowers, guys, good job... We enjoy watching you nowadays"

The following matches for Firat's charges are crunch ties for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against neighbours Burundi and reigning African champions Ivory Coast in June.

Olunga confident of new players

In a separate Sports Brief report, Olunga had expressed confidence in the new players called up to the national team set-up for the first time.

Firat handed seven new players their first call-ups for the tournament in Malawi.

Scottish-based striker Jonah Ayunga and Tusker FC's midfielder Chrispine Erambo were among the players called up.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)