‘Retired’ Wanyama for football president?
Victor Wanyama has expressed his desire to take up football management in the future, a stance supported by his former Harambee Stars coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee.
The hard-tackling midfielder who is considered one of the most talented footballers of his generation, has announced his international retirement after a 14-year eventful stint.
“The time has come to hand over the team to the next generation so that they too can make their mark and help out country reach even greater heights,” explained Wanyama in an emotional statement.
Adding: “I hope to return one day and help the federation off the field but until then I will still be Harambee Stars biggest supporter and I will be cheering you on from the sidelines.”
Mulee, who was among the first coaches to hand Wanyama the chance to don the celebrated Stars jersey, described him as a disciplined lad. The veteran trainer also suggests he envisages Wanyama as a future Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president.
Nick Mwendwa is the current FKF president and will occupy the role until 2024 when elections are held.
“(He is) one of the most disciplined players I’ve coached,” said Mulee.
“I appreciate his massive contribution to Kenyan football. The funny thing is I played him as a striker in the friendly match against Nigeria in 2007 and he did very well. It will be good if he can think of joining football politics.”
Wanyama is currently contracted to Major League Soccer (MLS) side Montreal Impact until 2024.
FKF has also in a statement celebrated Wanyama as a gem and invited him to contribute to the development of football in the country in another capacity.
Wanyama, son of former Kenya international Noah, and younger sibling to ex-Inter Milan star Macdonald Mariga is remembered in football circles for being the first Kenyan player to play and score in the English Premier League.
The magnificent performance and goal against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League during his stint at Scottish side Celtic in 2012 introduced him to the world, even though he failed to replicate most of these displays and success whenever he donned the national team jersey.
Captaining the national team at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt remains his greatest highlight, even though a myriad of knee injuries appeared to slow down his performances in the past two seasons leading to his exclusion from the team by Mulee in the past year.
Wanyama commenced his football career at JMJ Academy in Nairobi. He would enjoy stints at Kenyan league sides Nairobi City Stars and AFC Leopards before moving to Sweden at Helsinborgs IF academy and later on Beerschort in Belgium, moves that acted as a perfect launchpad for his expansive career.
Stars captain Michael Olunga, goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, self-proclaimed number one football fan Jared Obonyo aka Jaro Soja, and renowned broadcaster Stephen Mukangai and celebrated Easy FM presenter Carol Radull are among football fans that have also paid tribute to Wanyama.
Should he contest for the FKF presidency, Wanyama, who also owns a foundation that aids the vulnerable in society, will join a growing list of former football stars, including Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o and Ivorian Didier Drogba, who have ventured into football politics in recent times.
Mariga has joined politics and is planning a second stab at becoming a lawmaker ahead of the country’s next general elections in 2022.