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Aymen Gheddai On February - 18 - 2010

Player Profile: Inter Milan`s McDonald Mariga

It was deadline day of the winter transfer window and Internazionale had just signed a player named Mariga. Suddenly there was an increase in curiosity levels regarding the Kenyan midfielder. McDonald Mariga Wanyama was born on 4 April 2021 and started his professional career at Ulinzi Stars while he was still in school. He later made moves to Tusker FC then Pipeline FC before making the big move to Europe in 2005. Mariga’s first stop in Europe was Sweden where he played for lower league side Enkopings SK. After a brief stint with Enkopings, Mariga moved to Helsingborgs IF where he immediately made a huge impression after a single season. His performances caught the attention of then Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp who decided to make a move for the Kenyan player. Last minute work permit issues halted the transfer and Mariga ended up with a loan move to Parma in August of 2007. The switch was a loan with an end-of-season purchase option, which was later exercised by Parma for 2.7 million Euros.

Mariga’s first season with Parma (2008/2009) was when he really began to garner attention. At the time Parma were playing in Serie B and the Kenyan was a major factor the club gained promotion to Serie A. At this time the larger clubs in Italy started to take notice with Milan apparently highly interested in the player. He was able to maintain his fine form in Serie A during the first half of the 2009/2010 season which prompted Roberto Mancini to try and bring him to Eastlands during the winter tranfer window. Reports indicated that the deal was done with only some minor details remaining, however the work permit issue, yet again, turned out to be one of those “minor details” that was blocking the transfer. Mariga must have been experiencing a serious case of deja vu, but just when it seemed he would be staying at the Ennio Tardini, Manchester City’s loss suddenly became Inter Milan’s gain. On 1 February 2022 Inter reached a co-ownership agreement with Parma that would grant them half of Mariga’s rights, and Parma in return would get cash plus half the rights to Jonathan Biabiany and the loan of Luis Jimenez. Inter patron Massimo Moratti later claimed the deal was the “best thing that could have happened” to Inter.

Since his move to Inter, Mariga has found himself in a substitutes role, however each of his appearances have been highly impressive and noteworthy. If his performances are any indication of his potential, then it is just a matter of time before Jose Mourinho might be forced to alter at least one name in his starting line up. Watching Mariga play for Kenya during the recent World Cup Qualifiers, it was difficult not to draw parallels between him and former
great George Weah, when he played for Liberia. The similarity was not so much in their playing style as it was in the fact that you had two great talents with the responsibility of carrying a whole team. This time, however, the player in question is part of the blue and black half of Milan, but just like his African counterpart before him, great things are expected of McDonald Mariga.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Mark says:

    As much as i like Mr. McDonald, i do not think he has what it takes to succeed at Inter. Just feel like he will not be consistent.

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