McDonald Mariga

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McDonald Mariga
Mariga with Inter in 2010
Personal information
Full name McDonald Mariga Wanyama
Date of birth (1987-04-04) 4 April 1987 (age 29)
Place of birth Nairobi, Kenya
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Defensive Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 17
Youth career
2003–2004 Tusker
2004–2005 Kenya Pipeline
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2006 Enköpings SK 1 (0)
2006–2007 Helsingborgs IF 37 (6)
2007–2010 Parma 62 (4)
2010–2014 Internazionale 21 (1)
2011–2012 Real Sociedad (loan) 14 (0)
2013 Parma (loan) 13 (1)
2014–2015 Parma 9 (0)
2016– Latina 30 (2)
National team
2006– Kenya 40 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 31 December 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 27 July 2015

McDonald Mariga Wanyama (pronounced [məkˈdɒnʌld məˈriːɡɑ wɑˈŋɑːmɑ]; born 4 April 1987) is a Kenyan footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for Italian club Latina and the Kenya national team.

Mariga made history as the first Kenyan footballer to play in the UEFA Champions League, for Internazionale on 16 March 2010.[1]

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Mariga started his playing career at Ulinzi Stars before moving first to Tusker FC and then to Kenya Pipeline while still at school.[2] Mariga was a member of the Kamukunji High School 'Golden Boys', which also included Kenyan striker Dennis Oliech (Auxerre, France), who won two consecutive National Championships in 2002 & 2003.

The central midfielder went to Sweden in 2005 to play for third Division side Enköpings SK. After only one season at ESK, he signed for Helsingborgs IF before the 2006 season. His success at Helsingborgs was immediate.[3] Following initial interest from Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp, Mariga looked set to sign for the Premier League team, but work permit issues held up the deal which was supposed to have cost around €2.7million.[4]


He moved to the Serie A club Parma initially on loan in August 2007. The Italian club had an option to buy him in the summer for a fee of 20 million Swedish kronor (around €2million).[citation needed] Mariga agreed to a four-year deal to keep him at Serie A side Parma for four years until the end of June 2012, after the club paid a transfer fee for Swedish Kronor 18 million (approx. 1.94 million euro). The deal, brokered by former Swede great Martin Dahlin, now an agent, falls short of the 20 Million Kronor asking price initially set by Helsingborgs. 25% of the transfer fee will go to Enkopings SK, the club that first got Mariga to Sweden in 2005.[citation needed]

Mariga played 35 times for Parma in the Serie B during the 2008–2009 season scoring three times to help them back to Serie A for the 2009–2010 season.

In January 2010 he was set to sign for English club Manchester City of the Premier League, but he failed to obtain a work permit.[5] It was later stated by Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga that 22-year-old Mariga had eventually obtained a UK work permit but only after the transfer window for the Premier League had closed. Had Mariga successfully signed for Manchester City, he would have been the first player from the East African country to sign for a club in the top English league[6] - a milestone later achieved by his brother, upon his transfer to Southampton in July 2013.


On 1 February 2010, the last day of the transfer window, Mariga moved to Inter in a co-ownership deal. The transfer fee was €5 million in a cash plus player deal which Parma got half the registration rights of Jonathan Biabiany (€2.5 million) and the loan of Luis Antonio Jiménez.[7][8] Following the move, Inter president Massimo Moratti hailed Mariga's move as the "best thing that could have happened" to the club in the January transfer window.[9] He made his debut for Internazionale in the 1st leg of the 2009 Coppa Italia Semi-final against Fiorentina. Inter narrowly won the match 1–0. In March 2010 Mariga became the first Kenyan to play in the UEFA Champions League, when he entered the field as a late substitute against Chelsea.[10]

Mariga thought he scored his first goal for Inter on 24 April 2010 against Atalanta when he netted Samuel Eto'o's back pass into the roof of the net. However his shot deflected off Sulley Muntari and the goal was credited instead to the Ghanaian. He also scored a thrashing header against Genoa for the Nerazzurri in a game that ended 3–2.

On 17 June 2010, Inter bought him outright and bought back Biabiany for €4.2 million each,[11][12][13] which made Parma registered a "loss from co-ownership" of €800,000, as the retained profit of unsold half had decreased from €5 million to €4.2 million.[14][15] However, if counting the profit from Biabiany, which Inter in fact paid Parma €10.9 million cash for Mariga plus the special loan of Biabiany. While Luis Antonio Jiménez originally included in the deal but collapsed after Inter lost its portion on 25 June.

In January 2011 Inter gifted Parma half of the registration rights of Joel Obi for a peppercorn fee but never left Inter, and half of the registration rights of Nwankwo for a price nearly equal to half the price Inter bought him.

At the start of the 2011–12 season Mariga was loaned out to La Liga club Real Sociedad. It meant Inter had a non-EU transfer quota which they used on winter signing Juan and Fredy Guarín (the other quota was obtained from Philippe Coutinho). After half a season back at Inter, he was loaned to Parma in the January 2013 transfer window and he scored his only goal against Lazio. In the next fixture he was injured against Novara, which ruled him out for the rest of the season. He returned to Inter along with Biabiany at the end of the season at the request of manager Andrea Stramaccioni, but was released by the club in May 2014.[16]

Return to Parma[edit]

On 4 September 2014, Mariga re-signed with Parma, the team he left to join Inter in 2010.[17]


In January 2016 he was signed by Serie B club Latina.[18]

International career[edit]

Mariga scored his first international goal for Kenya against Swaziland on 25 March 2007.




Personal life[edit]

Mariga's father, Noah Wanyama, a left winger, played for A.F.C. Leopards and the Kenya national football team. His younger brother Victor Wanyama is also a professional football player, who is currently playing for Premier League side Tottenham, while his other brothers Thomas and Sylvester are also footballers in the Kenyan Premier League. Their younger sister Mercy was the captain of the Lang'ata High School basketball team, and previously played football and netball.[citation needed]

In 2013, Mariga ended his engagement to his long-time Rwandese fiancée Ariane Umutoni, after relations between the couple reportedly deteriorated.[19]


  1. ^ "Mariga makes history". BBC News. 17 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Mariga's failed dream move to Man City is an indication of the rot in local football". The Standard. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  3. ^ "McDonald Mariga". SvFF. Retrieved 1 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Redknapp ends interest in Mariga
  5. ^ Daily Nation, 1 February 2010: Mariga's Man City transfer suffers setback
  6. ^ Kenya Prime Minister Odinga pushed for Mariga permit
  7. ^ "Mariga signs for Inter". 1 February 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Mariga joins Inter after Man City move collapses
  9. ^ Moratti delight at Mariga deal
  10. ^ The Standard, 20 March 2010: Local players and fans should learn from Mariga's exploits
  11. ^ "LEONARDI: BOJINOV A TITOLO DEFINITIVO". Parma FC (in Italian). 16 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  12. ^ "Ufficiale: l' Inter ha riscattato Mariga e Biabiany per 10 milioni". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 17 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  13. ^ "Bilancio Parma 2009/10: dalla B alla A, più ricavi e minori perdite". (in Italian). 28 August 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  14. ^ FC Internazionale Milano SpA bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 30 June 2010 (Italian), PDF purchased from Italian CCIAA
  15. ^ Parma FC SpA bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 30 June 2010 (Italian), PDF purchased from Italian CCIAA
  16. ^ Vincent Opiyo (23 May 2014). "Mariga released by Inter". Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Mariga puts pen to paper at Parma". 15 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "Mariga è un calciatore nerazzurro" (in Italian). U.S. Latina Calcio. January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  19. ^ "Mariga Breaks Up With His Rwandese fiancee". Nairobi Wire. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 

External links[edit]