When Manchester City came calling for his signature, I knew the young man was headed for greatness, I couldn’t help imagine, one of our own playing among some of the best talent in the world in the EPL. That too was unimaginable for any player in this country or for any mother whose son played football, but as fate had it, Manchester city were not able to secure a work permit for him and when the Prime Minister finally got it, it was too late, Jose Mourinho already secured his signature for Italian giants Inter Milan.
The local media went a buzz with the news that now a Kenyan, could play beside Samuel Eto, Diego Milito among other inter stars at the time. The name Mariga became a household name in every corner of this country, forgive some people’s pronunciation of his name, he was the man of the moment and when he finally made his debut against Florentina, every homestead, club and joint in this country that watches the Italian league was filled with unprecedented joy.
Then came the Champions league, he entered the pitch as a late substitute against Chelsea and later his performance against Barcelona again which he came off the bench to play as a spoiler earned Inter their passage to the final, a season they went on to win the Champions League and thus making Mariga, the first Kenyan ever to win this trophy. Together with Inter, they went on to win the treble in the 2009/2010 season.
The news that Mourinho was leaving Inter at the end of the season shocked the world. The future looked bright under Mourinho but now Mariga had to learn the trade under a new coach at the start of 2010/2011 season. Came, Rafa Benitez, the former Liverpool tactician, he joined the club at the start of that season but soon his predecessors shoes were too big for him to fill even though he went on to win the club world cup at the start of that season.
Mariga started seeing less and less time on the pitch and subsequently forced out of first team opportunities. He was thus sent on loan to Spain at the start of 2011/2012 season. He managed only 11 appearances at Real Sociedad before his agent negotiated for a loan move back to Parma for the second half of the season. On 31/2/2012, Parma announced they had taken Mariga on loan with an aim of resigning him permanently.
Now when did the graph start dropping for Mariga’s career? Or is it a question of going full cycle? I personally, partially blame Mourinho for Mariga’s predicament. You don’t sign a player and leave the club a few months later, when you pretend to want to see the player develop. I highly doubt if he could be playing more regularly had he joined City but on the other hand, he would have improved under Mancini who has stayed at City over the years.
On the other hand, Morrati is to blame; frequently changing coaches realy is hard for the players.As a footballer, training with other members of the team frequently and under one coach who instills his style of play into the team does magic for partnership on and off the pitch. Inter seems to be changing coaches day in, day out and this does no good to the players who are forced to change their style of play every time a new coach takes over the team.
I hope that with his return to Parma, albeit on a short loan will re-ignite his career that has of late been plagued by a few injuries. Kenya forever remains a home for him and should he even one day want to grace the colors of any local club he is so welcome to do that. Amidst all this, he still remains a shining star to all the Kenyan youth, the Kenyan youth who struggle each day to play football with the hope of one day gracing top European leagues. He forever remains a legend, a legend whose class is untainted and loyalty to his homeland unquestionable.
You can follow this blog on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Superfoota-HOME-of-Football/283713498349893