In the content page leading to the first chapter of his biography ‘Striking it high’, Allan Wanga has at number 9- ‘Finally Home’ one that covers three pages in the actual read and marks the end of a book describing his journey as a footballer.
Gilbert Wandera tries telling the story of a resilient footballer trying to pursue his dreams, however he fails to tell us this story just doesn’t end at ‘Finally Home’, actually the realization of the same is what this blog addresses today.
Yesterday, Allan signed a one year deal that will see him ply his trade at Sudanese giants Al-Merrikh SC.
For a man who’s played his football from as low as Spectre International’s Lolwe FC all the way to Azerbaijan and back to the Kenyan League it can be said every single day in football has brought with it lots of challenges and plenty of satisfaction.
When Wanga got back to the Kenya Premier League, the question was “would it jeopardize his chances of going back to a better team?”
His time at Sofapaka was short lived, so short some of you wouldn’t remember ever seeing him in a ‘Batoto Ba Mungu’ jersey; however AFC Leopards was where he was to make a base.
In all my time watching AFC Leopards, I thought so many players came so close to defining what playing for AFC Leopards really was. From the start, he didn’t look like one; however he gradually grew into the jersey, wore the face of it and acted like it. It was like every dropped point weighed down on his shoulders, every single miss described his effort and every victory- had his sweat and those of his team mates drowning it away.
He might have never been the perfect expression of the above, however in a bid to have an identity; AFC Leopards had one man to thank for leading the pack.
Over the last two years, coaches have similarly come and gone, in some cases even the office changed but it’s been impossible to imagine Wanga without a football, running down the middle after successful through pass, sometimes rounding the keeper, in some instances picking a side and powerfully sending a shot.
The most interesting part of his memoirs relate to his rapport with coaches and team mates. It was therefore not surprising when as captain he led his side to a 2013 GOtv Shield win against the mighty Gor Mahia. It’s like every coach sought his advice and always wanted him on their side, that way, the whole locker room was closer to a manager’s belief’s and wants than further away from it.
This weekend, Allan Wanga has a farewell party in the shape of the grandest game in Kenyan Football- a Nairobi Derby.
How fitting would it be that a fixture that has in the past built Allan and his team mates and at other times destroyed this great club mark his parting?
Wanga nevertheless would love to leave on a high, a captain’s arm band would certainly crown the moment he walks his team onto the pitch; everything would come to a standstill, a great servant would then be rightfully so applauded by the fans- those who love him and those who love him not so much.
Before Allan’s biography is revised yet, a few more years dazzling Sudan and possibly even Europe again is still on the cards. A befitting home awaits him in AFC Leopards should he wish to return, however should he not- his fingerprints on the GOtv Shield (the only piece of silverware he won at AFC Leopards) will remain as a constant reminder for our kids and their generations of what a talent AFC Leopards had.
For those who will never get lucky enough to see the fingerprints, history will never be erased. A footballer was once here, he touched us, now he spreads the gospel of our football beyond our borders, an ambassador in his own right.