McDonald Mariga Wanyama (pronounced [məkˈdɒnʌld məˈriːɡɑ wɑˈɲɑːmɑ] (About this soundlisten); born 4 April 1983) is a retired Kenyan footballer who played as a defensive midfielder for the Kenya national team.

McDonald Mariga
Mariga with Inter Milan in 2010
Personal information
Full name McDonald Mariga Wanyama
Date of birth (1983-04-04) 4 April 1983 (age 36)
Place of birth Nairobi, Kenya.
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Defensive Midfielder
Youth career
Ulinzi Stars
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2004 Tusker
2004–2005 Kenya Pipeline
2005–2006 Enköpings SK 1 (0)
2006–2007 Helsingborgs IF 37 (6)
2007–2010 Parma 62 (4)
2010–2014 Internazionale 21 (1)
2011–2012Real Sociedad (loan) 14 (0)
2013Parma (loan) 13 (1)
2014–2015 Parma 9 (0)
2016–2017 Latina 41 (2)
2017–2018 Real Oviedo 15 (0)
National team
2003– Kenya 40 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 2 June 2018
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 27 July 2015

Mariga made history as the first Kenyan footballer to play in the UEFA Champions League, for Internazionale on 16 March 2010.[1] In 2019 he joined politics to vie for Kibera parliamentary seat after the demise of Ken Okoth

Club careerEdit

Early careerEdit

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 and 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 €2.7 million.[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 2009–10 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.[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 chairman 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 2009-10 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.[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.

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 ParmaEdit

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]


On 31 July 2017, Mariga signed a one-year deal with Spanish Segunda División club Real Oviedo.[19]

International careerEdit

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

International goalsEdit

Scores and results list Kenya's goal tally first.[20]
No Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 25 March 2007 Moi International Sports Centre, Nairobi, Kenya   Swaziland 1–0 2–0 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
2. 14 June 2008 Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, Kenya   Zimbabwe 1–0 2–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
3. 20 June 2009 Moi International Sports Centre, Nairobi, Kenya   Mozambique 2–1 2–1 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
4. 11 August 2010 National Stadium, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania   Tanzania 1–0 1–1 Friendly
5. 26 March 2011 Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, Kenya   Angola 2–1 2–1 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualification

Personal lifeEdit

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.[21]

Political Ambitions

In September 2019, Mac Donald Mariga made a debut in Kenya's politics after announcing plans to contest for a parliamentary seat in a by-election in one of the constituencies (Kibra). He was nominated by the Jubilee Party as it's flag bearer in the Kibra by-election. The By-Election was occasioned by the death of former MP Ken Okoth, who died on 26 July 2019, after a long battle with Colon cancer.[22]

The Kenyan electoral commission IEBC; has however, not cleared Mariga to participate in the election[23][24]. Although Mariga had applied to be registered as a voter on 26 August 2019 in Starehe constituency, the IEBC insisted that his name was not in its register. Mariga appealed the decision, but the matter is yet to be concluded. If he qualifies to vie, he will face off with Bernard Okoth of ODM and several other (unpopular) contestants.


  1. ^ "Mariga makes history". BBC News. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Mariga's failed dream move to Man City is an indication of the rot in local football". The Standard. Archived from the original on 3 February 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  3. ^ "McDonald Mariga". SvFF. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
  4. ^ "Redknapp ends interest in Mariga". BBC Sport. BBC News. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Mariga's Man City transfer suffers setback". Daily Nation. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Kenya Prime Minister Odinga pushed for Mariga permit". BBC Sport. BBC News. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Mariga signs for Inter". 1 February 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  8. ^ Mariga joins Inter after Man City move collapses
  9. ^ "Moratti delight at Mariga deal". ESPN. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Local players and fans should learn from Mariga's exploits". The Standard. 20 March 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  11. ^ "LEONARDI: BOJINOV A TITOLO DEFINITIVO". Parma FC (in Italian). 16 June 2010. Archived from the original on 7 October 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 15 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Bilancio Parma 2009/10: dalla B alla A, più ricavi e minori perdite". (in Italian). 28 August 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  14. ^ FC Internazionale Milano SpA bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 30 June 2010 (in Italian), PDF purchased from Italian CCIAA
  15. ^ Parma FC SpA bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 30 June 2010 (in Italian), PDF purchased from Italian CCIAA Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  16. ^ Vincent Opiyo (23 May 2014). "Mariga released by Inter". Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  17. ^ "Mariga puts pen to paper at Parma". 15 September 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  18. ^ Aggiunto da Luca Giacanella (13 January 2016). "MacDonald Mariga è un calciatore nerazzurro" (in Italian). Buongiorno Latina. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Mariga, Real Oviedo's New Player". Real Oviedo. 31 July 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Mariga, Macdonald". National Football Teams. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Mariga Breaks Up With His Rwandese fiancee". Nairobi Wire. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Capital, FM (10 September 2019). "Mariga locked out of Kibra by-election because he's not a registered voter". Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  24. ^ NYAWIRA, LYNSY (10 September 2019). "IEBC locks out Mariga from Kibra poll after his name misses in register". Retrieved 12 September 2019.

External linksEdit