AFC Champions League: Al Duhail's Olunga states ambitions ahead of Al Shorta showdown

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Michael Olunga of Al Duhail SC.
Al Duhail SC.
The Kenya international will be making his first appearance in the tournament after joining the Qatari club

Al Duhail striker Michael Olunga has stated what he wants to achieve in the AFC Champions League ahead of a tie against Iraqi's Al Shorta at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on Thursday.

Olunga and his teammates must start the Group C games on good ground as only the group leaders will qualify for the Round of 16. Olunga - who is featuring in the Asian premier clubs' competition for the first time - has thus said he wants to perform better in the championship and help Al Duhail progress.

"This is a new tournament in which I am with my Al Duhail and it is a new experience through which I seek to prove myself by providing performance that will help the team qualify for the next round," Olunga told the club's portal.

"We will work hard and ensure we perform better in order to help Al Duhail progress by getting the desired results. We will show the strength of the team and its ability.

"We have had the best of preparations and it is now time to focus on the field. The group is a tough one with distinguished clubs which I know will strive to get better results."

Olunga's head coach Sabri Lamouchi echoed the striker's hope of progressing further in the competition.

"Our first goal is to advance from the group stage,” Lamouchi said during a pre-match press conference as per The Peninsula.

"We have been preparing for the last three weeks and we had a lot of good matches."

Lamouchi recognised the expected competition from the rivals as the regional giants Esteghlal FC of Iran and Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli are the other rivals in the pool.

"The group is strong and there will be big competition. Al Ahli Saudi have good Asian experience but we want to advance from the group and to do so, we must make a good start tomorrow [on Thursday]," he added.

On his part, Al Shorta head coach Aleksandar Ilic stressed the need to win against the opponents.

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"It is very important to have good performances in all the matches and if we do so, then the results will eventually come," Ilic said. "The group is difficult and our first match will be against a strong team."

Lamouchi was appointed as Al Duhail head coach last season before Olunga signed for them. The Harambee Star is expected to deal with huge expectations given how he performed with Kashiwa Reysol in 2020 in Japan's J1 League.

The former Tusker striker won the Golden Boot after scoring 28 goals in 32 games and went ahead to be named the Most Valuable Player of the J1 League; becoming the first African to be crowned Japan's MVP.