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Mariga: Kenyan football is worse off now than during my time

Former Kenya star footballer McDonald Mariga says the challenges that denied him a move to English Premier League side Manchester City in 2010 are still existent in the local game.

Mariga further claimed that the national team’s current players lack the motivation to perform on the pitch partly owing to the meager camping allowance they receive from the government and Football Kenya Federation (FKF).

In a tell it all interview with Radio Jambo, the ex-Inter Milan star, who remains the only East African player to win the UEFA Champions League title, claimed the current crop of Stars players takes home Sh750 a day.

This, he added, is in contrast to the between Sh5000 and Sh10000 he received during his stint with the team between 2003 and 2018.

“Our players have been forced to have two jobs because they cannot survive with the salary that comes from playing football. Their concentration is split as a result and they cannot perform for the national team,” explained Mariga.

“The (Harambee Stars) players are paid something below Sh1000 but during our days (under former FKF president Sam Nyamweya) we received Ksh5000, and when we were on away duty, we would be given Ksh10,000.”

Mariga also claimed he is still owed monies by both Nyamweya and Mwendwa’s regimes.

“Mwendwa asked me to pay a hotel ticket for Gonzalez ( Ismael) when we were in Morocco and the flight delayed. He has the receipt but has never paid me. Nyamweya too never paid me air ticket refunds I used when travelling for national team duty.”

“The poor ranking by Kenya on the Fifa table denied me a move to Manchester City. The state of football is disappointing and I am going to seek President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto to do something about it.”

Besides turning out for Inter Milan, Mariga, who has switched to politics, also turned out for Italian side Parma and Spain La Liga club Real Socieadad.