By Prudence Minayo
Kenya has talented footballers who have and continue to dazzle a football loving country with their skills. Allan Wanga is one such footballer. The ex-Harambee Stars forward has played for teams in various countries including Angola, Tanzania, Sudan, Vietnam and now in the local league.
Ex-Inter Milan midfielder McDonald Mariga and French New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry are his role models. His dream of playing in the UEFA Europa League was not realized with Azerbaijan Premier League side FC Baku, as he failed to obtain a work permit after working out a 2-year contract with the club.
Allan Watende Wanga was born on 26th November 1985 in Kisumu county.
From an early age, Wanga loved playing football. His mother thought he would either be a teacher or join the army.
In primary school, he started playing football. He played at different age groups for a Kisumu based club called FIFA Kingdom which is now defunct.
Wanga then joined St Paul’s High School where he continued to play football.
Allan comes from a football background. His father, Frank Watende, is a former player of A.F.C Leopards, Kisumu Posta and also played for Harambee stars in the 70s and 80s.
His mother Noel Ayieta died in 2015 after losing her battle to intestinal cancer. In an interview with the standard in 2019, he described her as a simple prayerful woman who was a pastor.
“ She was a simple woman who just really wanted her son to be a teacher so that she could walk in pride through the village being referred to as “mama mwalimu.” She could pray for an hour for people and mention each one of them by name, giving God details about them and how he needed to bless them.”
Noel’s last year was spent back and forth between home and hospital. He was in South Africa when she became really sick and he gave up a lucrative deal to come be with her. She passed away 20 days after his return.
The player has three siblings, Richard Malaki, Nancy Kuboka and one deceased sister Magdalene Amboko.
The talented striker is married to ex-NTV reporter Brenda Mulinya Wange. They met in 2009 while he was playing for Harambee Stars against Guinea and she was covering the match for a TV station. Speaking to The Standard, he explained how their love story was born;
“ We had a connection like nothing I had experienced before. For example, she is a Manchester United fan and I am a fan of Arsenal. So one day they were playing against each other and we made a bet on Facebook chat and we each named our stakes. She won, and I paid up.”
The two got married in 2011 and have two children, a son named Jayden and a daughter named Adanna.
In 2005, he joined Lolwe FC, a club based in Kisumu and was there for three months. He scored 8 goals during his 12 games with the team.
In 2007, he joined Tusker FC where he played until the end of the 2007 season. He scored 21 goals out of his 23 appearances for the club. The club representative of the Angolan team, Petro Atletico, flew into the country towards the end of 2007 to watch him play and signed him afterwards. Wanga reveals to The Standard that it was a very happy moment for him.
“ That was the happiest moment of my life, because I had been picked to replace a very big player. Manucho, who was going to play for Man-U, ” he said.
During his first season with Petro Atletico, he won the Angolan Premier League. In the second season, he made 35 appearances and scored 19 goals.
In January 2010, he moved to Azerbaijani club FC Baku on a six-months contract. He was with the team for a season before moving to a Vietnamese club named Hoang Anh Gia Lai where he played for two seasons, made 22 appearances and scored 14 goals.
In 2014, he signed a one-year contract with the Sudanese giants Al-Merrikh SC.
In 2015, he joined the Tanzanian club Azam FC on a one-year contract. He only made 11 appearances for the club due to personal reasons and scored 12 goals.
In 2016, he returned to Tusker FC. He played the first match for the club in July 2016 in a 2-2 draw against Chemelil Sugar.
International football career
Wanga’s debut match for Harambee Stars happened on 27th May 2007 in a friendly match against Nigeria. In December 2007, he scored his first international goal in Kenya’s 2-1 loss to Tanzania at the 2007 CECAFA cup.
On 8th July 2019, he announced his retirement from international football. This was a shock to his fans with others saying he was responding to being left out of Kenya’s AFCON squad yet he had scored the highest number of goals in the Kenya Premier League. He speaks about this during his interview with The Standard.
“ Of course I felt bad after not being picked for AFCON, because I felt that I deserved to be on the team. But the coach’s word was final and I took it positively. I even went to Egypt to support them,” he said.
“ I did not retire because I was not in the team, but maybe I would have retired after being in AFCON this year. I retired because it was just the right time. I did not want to end up being that guy that people look on the team and say ‘Get that guy out of the field,’ he added.
Apart from football, he has made other investments. The footballer owns a house, car hire business, an entertainment joint in Rongai and a gym known as Nella Fitness Centre.
Retirement From Active Football
On 10 Sept 2021, the footballer announced that he had retired from active football after completing the 2020/21 season with Kakamega Homeboyz. In a long statement shared on his social media platform, the footballer thanked his family, fans and technical benches and his team-mates for motivating him to give his best.
The post read: