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Mariga’s failed dream move to Man City is an indication of the rot in local football

Updated Tuesday, February 2nd 2010 at 00:00 GMT +3
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McDonald Mariga, almost became the first Kenyan player to ply his trade in the lucrative English Premier League (EPL). The flopped move that could have seen him join Manchester City from Italy’s Parma, could have taken the country’s football to uncharted waters.

The country was excited that one of its own would feature in the most lucrative club competition in the world. However, we should also question the level of input local infrastructure and the game’s management had on Mariga’s meteoric rise.

Decades of mismanagement in local football has robbed precious talent the chance to make it big in the global arena. As one of the acknowledged largest consumers of the EPL, the country feels shortchanged. To illustrate the impact EPL has on the country, majority of Kenyan fans opted to watch Manchester United clash with Arsenal on Sunday instead of the continental final between Egypt and Ghana.

Mariga’s rise from Ulinzi FC to Parma through the defunct Kenya Pipeline, Tusker and Helsinborgs SK (Sweden) represents the success of a focused individual rather than a pointer to the development of local football.

He is an example of what could be achieved if all local football stakeholders offered direction to talented youngsters who are spotted at estate tournaments and schools instead of letting them waste away.

Feuding Kenya Football Federation and Football Kenya Limited mandarins should be covering themselves in shame, considering all the talents they have killed and buried following the Mariga deal.

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