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The rise and rise of McDonald Mariga

Francis Wainaina Kaburu
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McDonald Mariga during his time at Inter Milan. He is the first Kenyan to play in Serie A and win the Champions League. [Photo/Footonline]

One of the greatest football players in Kenya, if not the ‘greatest’, Mcdonald Mariga Wanyama, who turned 31 years old this month is still the beckon of many youth footballers in Kenya.

Mcdonald Mariga brandishes Kenyan football after becoming the first Kenyan to play in La Liga, Serie A and is one of the African elite footballers to have won the coveted UEFA champions league trophy.

Mariga who started his career at Ulinzi stars before moving to Tusker FC and then to Kenya Pipeline. 

However, his ambitions matched the dreams of a young boy destined to experience unprecedented glory and greatness. The central midfielder caught the attention of Sweden teams where he signed for Third Division side Enköpings SK and later Helsingborgs in 2005.

Mariga later moved to Serie A club Parma where he played 35 times scoring three times. At the age of 22, he hit the headlines when he was set to sign for English side Manchester City but was restricted because he had no work permit.

Mariga later joined Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan in 2010. Where he went on to win; Serie A: 2009–10,Coppa Italia: 2010, 2011, UEFA Champions League: 2009–10, Supercoppa, Italiana: 2010, FIFA Club World Cup: 2010, making him one of the most decorated African footballers of all time behind the likes of Drogba, Salmon Kalou just to name a few. 

However, Mcdonald Mariga failed to establish himself at Inter as a central figure and later rejoined his former club Parma in 2014 and had spells at Real Sociedad and Latina.

Mariga who nowadays plays as a defensive midfielder for Spanish club Real Oviedo and wears shirt no. 15. Currently this season he has played 10 games for Oviedo and has picked 5 yellow cards though he has no goals under his belt. 

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-Francis Wainaina Kaburu

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