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Mariga joins race for FKF presidency

By Mercy Simiyu November 8th, 2023 2 min read

Ex-footballer Macdonald Mariga says he is ready to team up with Extreme Sports Chief Executive Hussein Mohammed ahead of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) polls.

The former Harambee Stars midfielder has also accused FKF president Nick Mwendwa of ‘not creating an enabling environment’ for Kenyan footballers to thrive.

“I know Hussein and have worked with him,” explained Mariga in an interview with Radio 47.

“I played in his tournament. He is someone who has a passion for football and is a personal friend. It may not be a good idea to contest against him. We have to agree so as he is my running mate or I deputise him.”

On Nick Mwendwa’s reign which spans eight years, Mariga said:

“A lot has done wrong in the way football is managed. It is not easy for footballers to thrive. During my time as a Harambee Stars player, we were paid a Sh5000 camping allowance daily. Now, the players take home Sh750. There is a lack of motivation.

Mariga is statistically East Africa’s most successful footballer.

He was part of the Inter Milan squad, managed by famed coach Jose Mourinho, which won the Italian league title, alongside the Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League in 2010.

Despite a failed move to England where he was to join Manchester City but failed to secure a work permit, Mariga’s football career led him to stints at Parma in Italy’s top-flight, alongside Real Sociedad in Spain.

Upon retirement, Mariga, the elder sibling to Canadian-based footballer Victor Wanyama, twice unsuccessfully contested for the Kibra parliamentary seat.

Mohammed meanwhile, is renowned for organising the Super 8 grassroots football tournament, which has groomed top football talents and coaches in the country including ex-Harambee Stars captain Innocent Mutiso.

Even though he has yet to formally declare his candidature for the FKF presidency, Mohammed, at a recent event where he presided over a fundraiser for second-tier side Kibra United, emphasized on the importance of sound management at FKF.

“The quality of talents at our disposal is not in question, but why and where are we failing to harness it? I think it has something to do with the leadership and vision,” said Mohammed.

Besides Mariga and Mohammed, a host of other football administrators, including Gor Mahia Chief Executive Sam Ocholla, ex-FKF Chief Executive Lordvick Aduda, ex-FKF president Sam Nyamweya, and US-based ex-footballer Samuel ‘Kempes’ Owino are eyeing the top football seat.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, while appearing before the Senate Committee on Labour and Social Welfare on September 9, 2023, said he expects FKF polls to be held on September 9, 2023.

The CS clarified that the polls will be held as per the Sports Act, adding he had instructed the Sports Registrar to establish a committee that will mid-wife the process.

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