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Mariga handed five-match ban after bizarre handshake with referee

Kenya international McDonald Mariga has been banned for the remainder of Italy’s second division league season following a bizarre altercation with a referee this past weekend.

According to reliable Italian website Calciomercato, Mariga has been banned for five games after he was found guilty by the Italian FA’s disciplinary committee of insulting and assaulting match referee Ivan Pezzuto during the league match against Virtus Entella.

There are only four matches remaining in the current Serie B season.


“Mariga erupted in anger and was given marching orders after the referee had not allowed his side a clear penalty kick in the final minutes of crucial Serie B game against Virtus Entella. Mariga ironically shook referee’s hand too hard before leaving the pitch, making Mr Ivan Pezzuto’s hand bleed.

“The disciplinary commission’s report also revealed that the 29 year old directed various insults towards the match officials after being shown the red card,” the Italian site reported.

Mariga, who plays for Italian second division side Latina FC,  is set to miss the remaining four matches of the season against Spezia, Crotone, Vicenza and Pescara.

He was not available for comment, although a close family member who spoke to Nairobi News suggested he is “confused and disturbed” by this whole development.

This is not the first time the former Inter Milan, Parma and Real Socieadad player is courting controversy.


Earlier this season, we reported how the midfielder had been benched for four league matches following a spat with coach Carmine Gautieri.

The stand-off was later resolved after a meeting between the player, his agent Lorenzo Marcheshi and the club’s management.

In 2012, Mariga walked out of the national football team’s camp in Nairobi after a dispute with the then Football Kenya Federation management led by Sam Nyamweya following a pay dispute. He consequently missed on Harambee Stars crucial 2013 Africa Nations Cup qualification match against Togo.

Incidentally, only last February the English FA slapped Mariga’s younger sibling, Southampton’s Victor Wanyama with a five match ban after the 24 year old had accumulated three red cards during the course of the English Premier League season.