When other football fans were busy enjoying arguably world’s greatest football tie, the El Clasico, between Spanish league leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday night, there was a fan who was on his knees praying fervently.
On this night, Paul Wainaina, who has never been to any church in years, was praying and sweating profusely, requesting God to grant him his wish; his fourth attempt in the SportPesa jackpot to come true.
Wainaina had the first 10 picks right, and there were three more to go. The pressure became too much to bear, with only two matches left by Monday 1am. “I tried praying, but I was weak. I woke my wife up to help me pray. I don’t know even what I was telling God. But I remember telling Him to let me win. I even confessed all my sins so that I could win a clean man,” said the 31-year-old father of two. ”I was checking the progress of the matches with every single second.”
He could not hide his joy when he realised he was the latest millionaire in town. With the stroke of lack, he had pocketed Sh8.9 million, just like that.
“Nimeshinda. Akia Mungu nimeshinda hii kitu! (I have won! I swear I have won it),” Wainaina cried out. He cared less that his ululations were becoming a nuisance to his neighbours in Huruma Estate. But what mattered was the winner.
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“I disappeared into the darkness to look for more airtime. Luckily, I got one for Sh50, which I loaded and immediately called SportPesa guys. I did not wait to be called. It is me who made the first call, because I really needed the money," says the class seven dropout.
Since this memorable win, hours have suddenly turned into centuries for Wainaina, who admits that patience is a virtue he is yet to own in his life.
“I was told by SportPesa to wait, and that I would be rewarded with the money after an official function on Tuesday. But it's like time is not moving. I have not slept since I won,” he told Fever Pitch during his crowning ceremony yesterday.
When asked what he will do with the jackpot, Wainana said he still has no plans.
“I will consult my wife Nancy Wanjiku on the kind of investment, which will be profitable to us and our two kids,”he said.
He also hopes to use part of the money to improve his business of selling drinking water, but only if his wife agrees to it.
The jackpot champion was accompanied by his ‘estate boys’ at the ceremony, under 'tight security'. He insists he will still put up in Huruma, despite the volatile life in the sprawling slum.
Wainaina is the second jackpot winner after Andrew Mghanga won the first edition late last year.
SportPesa Marketing Officer Kester Shimonyo said they reward participants who get 10, 11 or 12 correct picks out of all 13 Jackpot games win certain cash bonus amounts.