Mariga: Sam Nyamweya did a better job with Harambee Stars than Mwendwa
One of Kenya’s most successful footballers, McDonald Mariga, has blasted the leadership of Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa as he compared it to former president Sam Nyamweya’s reign.
Speaking in a radio interview, Mariga claimed footballers were well taken care of during Mr Nyamweya’s time compared to Nick Mwendwa’s in terms of leadership and finances.
“I played when both leaders held the presidency – Nyamweya and Mwendwa. I find that their leadership is very different in terms of financial management, leadership, and sports management. Nothing is good in Nick Mwendwa’s reign. Things are not working well. In short, Nick Mwendwa’s term has not been good for players because of his leadership style.
There are things he is doing wrong when it comes to football. I don’t know much but from what I can see for myself, he is doing the wrong thing. For example, when I played for Harambee Stars, local players used to be paid Sh 5,000 per day. For me who had to fly in from the teams I played for in Europe, when I arrived, my pay would change and I would get between Sh 8,000 and Sh 9,000 depending on where you’re playing. This was because local players would stay longer at camp but the foreign player would only come for a few days. National team can stay in camp for up to 4 or 4 weeks. In a month, a player would earn up to Sh 150,000,” revealed Mariga.
He went on to say that these expensive payments were made during Sam Nyamweya’s reign but once Nick Mwendwa took over, the financial pay for players in camp drastically changed. There is no longer a difference in pay between local and international Kenyan players.
“Now they are being paid Sh 750 per day, Sh 15,000 a month. Olunga and Wanyama received this same payment too. Ten years ago while I was at Harambee Stars, it used to be Sh 5,000 per day, now it’s Sh 750. I’m sure even construction workers are paid much more these days. When they go outside to play, it might double to Sh 1,400 or Sh 1,500. In the past, when we went to away games, the pay was double. Sh 5,000 became Sh 10,000,” added Mariga.
He went on to opine that players shouldn’t be unnecessarily blamed because they are demoralized. His revelations come ahead of the February 2024 FKF elections in which several people including Sam Nyamweya are gunning for the presidency.
Mariga has conceded he is considering contesting in the FKF presidential polls and also hinted at backing Hussein Mohammed, another contestant for the presidency seat, to become his running mate.
Nick Mwendwa will most likely contest for a third term too amid legal challenges on whether he will be cleared as the Kenyan law says one can only contest for two terms of four years. Mwendwa has already served two terms.
Mariga, statistically Kenya’s most successful footballer, is the only East African to win the Italian League and UEFA Champions League title when he played under famed Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho for Inter Milan in 2010.
He is also known to be a man of means, thanks to his football earnings. he is also owns a beach house in Malindi listed among his properties.
He is also a close ally of President William Ruto and unsuccessfully contested for the Kibra parliamentary seat twice.