Kenyan striker Michael Olunga will not be active for the next two weeks after Japan’s J-League postponed all football matches until mid-March 15 over the coronavirus outbreak, which has affected dozens of sports events worldwide.
Olunga, who features for promoted side Kashiwa Reysol, had opened the season with two goals as they beat Consadole Sapporo 4-2 in the league opener last Saturday.
Olunga’s Kashiwa were due to play in the domestic Cup against Shonan Bellmare on Wednesday but the match has also been called off.
Other games that have been affected include league ties against Yokohama (Sunday), Kawasaki Frontale (March 8) and Urawa Red Diamonds (March 14) and another cup match versus Oita Trinita slated for March 4.
This week’s seven Levain Cup games are all cancelled, as confirmed by a league statement on Tuesday, with the next three rounds of league action also expected to be postponed.
League bosses stated: “J-League will provide its maximum cooperation for the prevention of the spread and anti-infection measures.”
The division only began last weekend with Andres Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe held to a draw by newly-promoted Yokohama FC.
A delay until March 15 is being mooted for the top three divisions of Japanese football with a total of 850 cases reported across the country.
According to South China Post, with the Tokyo Olympics set to start in five months, Japan has begun to introduce measures to combat the outbreak of the virus in the country. Amateur runners have been banned from the Tokyo Marathon, while volunteer training was cancelled.
The J-League’s statement follows Monday’s decision from the South Korean K-League to indefinitely postpone the start of their season, which had been due to kick off this weekend.
The break will give Olunga a chance to link up with Harambee Stars squad as they prepare to face Comoros in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying match set for Kasarani Stadium on March 25.
By: Dennis Mabuka
Photo Credit: Goal.com