Kenya: Olunga's Al-Duhail Draw African Giants in FIFA Club World Cup

19 January 2021

Michael Olunga's Al-Duhail SC from Qatar will make debut at the 2020 Fifa Club World Cup with a tricky second round date against Egyptian heavyweights Al Ahly at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan on February 4.

In the draw held in Zurich, Switzerland on Tuesday, the winner between Al-Duhail and Al Ahly will battle European and Bundesliga Kings Bayern Munich in semi-final stage.

The other second round match pits Tigres UANL from Mexico and Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea. The winner here books a semi-final date against South American champion who will be known when Brazilian sides Palmerais and Santos face off in the CONMEBOL final on January 30.

Sabri Lamouchi's men are hosting the annual global showpiece for clubs drawn from the six continental governing bodies.

Al-Duhail won the 2019-2020 Qatar Stars League title in August 2020. Their ticket at the Club World Cup was officially confirmed on September 27, 2020 after Al-Sadd became the last team from Qatar to be eliminated from the 2020 Asian Champions League.

Lamouchi's men were supposed to begin the seven-team extravaganza with a playoff match against Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) representative Auckland City on February 1, but the New Zealand champions withdrew early last weekend leaving only six competitors.

This gave Al-Duhail the ticket to the second round without breaking sweat. Auckland cited tough coronavirus restrictions in their own country.

Al-Ahly are regulars at the Club World Cup. They represented Africa in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2013.

Like Al-Duhail, Tigres UANL are also first-timers at the Club World Cup. They booked their ticket after winning the 2020 North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF) Champions League.

South Korean side Ulsan Hyundai are returning after an eight-year absence. They are the reigning Asian Champions League winners.

Olunga will become the second Kenyan to feature at the Club World Cup after McDonald Mariga. The former Kenyan international defensive midfielder was part of the Inter Milan side that thrashed DR Congo's TP Mazembe 3-0 in the final of the 2010 Fifa Club World Cup under Spaniard Rafael Benitez.

The 2020 FIFA Club World Cup was originally scheduled for December last year, but postponed to February due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Semi-finals are slated for February 7, third-place playoff and final on February 11.

Elsewhere, Olunga started on the bench as Al-Duhail came from behind to share spoils in a one-all draw against Qatar SC in Qatar Stars League at Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium on Tuesday.

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