Former Kenyan International football star McDonald Mariga has officially come out of the woods to declare his interest in politics after he was named Jubilee Party candidate for the Kibra by-election scheduled for November 7,2019.
The Jubilee National Election Board (NEB) chaired by Andrew Musangi on Monday settled on the former Inter Milan midfielder after interviewing 16 candidates due to “his impeccable character, enduring connections with the people, demonstrated energy and passion to lead and he has demonstrated humility”.
Mariga made history as the first Kenyan footballer to play in the UEFA Champions League, for Internazionale on 16 March 2010
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 2009–10 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. 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 a milestone later achieved by his brother Victor Wanyama 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 .
Following the move, Inter chairman Massimo Moratti hailed Mariga’s move as the “best thing that could have happened” to the club in the January transfer window.
He made his debut for Internazionale in the 1st leg of the 2009-10 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.
In joining politics Macdonald Mariga follows in the footsteps of past football stars such as Liberian President George Weah and many more across Africa.