Harambee Stars skipper Michael Olunga has been nominated for the best Middle East player in the 2023 Dubai Globe Soccer Awards.
Olunga is in contention for the prestigious award alongside the likes of multiple Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and his Al-Nassr teammate Anderson Talisca.
Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez who secured a move to Al-Ahli earlier this year, Nigerian forward Odion Ighalo, Mourad Batna, Salem Al-Dawsari, Mohamed El Shenawy, Abedrrazak Hamdallah, Alejandro Romero, and Karim Benzema have also been shortlisted.
Olunga has been instrumental for Qatar-based Al-Duhail since joining the club in January 2021 from Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol.
The ex-Gor Mahia forward helped Al-Duhail lift the 2022/2023 season Qatar Stars League in May this year, scoring 22 goals to clinch the golden boot award. He has scored seven goals in a similar number of matches this season.
Although Olunga has struggled at the international level, the 29-year-old recently found his goal scoring boots in Kenya’s huge 5-0 win over minnows Seychelles in a 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers group F match staged in Ivory Coast.
In the best coach category, Real Madrid tactician Carlo Ancelotti and his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola are some of the big names who have been shortlisted.
Football fans can vote for their preferred candidates online until December 7 when the process shall be closed.
“With online voting opening today to recognize performances throughout the 2023 calendar year, football fans worldwide can have their say on who should be shortlisted for 11 of the 16 main categories, as well as four digital awards by voting until December 7.
Shortlists are then voted on between December 12 and 28 both by fans and Globe Soccer’s official jury” a statement from the organizers read in part.
The jury is made up of 30 individuals who have played a part in the beautiful game in one way or another.
Some of the former stars who will play a huge role in deciding the winners include Roma legend Francesco Totti, Luis Figo, and Iker Casillas.
The winner of the 14th edition of the awards is expected to be announced on January 19, 2024 at the iconic Atlantis, the Palm resort.