Kenya has had a number of siblings and relatives who went on to build illustrious careers in professional football. Indeed, football runs in their blood and how amazing it has been to have kinsmen don the national colours.
In this article, WoK recognizes the siblings who went on to feature for Kenya’s Harambee Stars.
The Oliech family is one of the most successful football family in Kenya. Dennis Oliech, the eldest of the three Oliech brothers, played for top European clubs such as Nantes, Auxerre, and Ajaccio. Due to his brilliance in front of goal, Oliech was a nightmare for many defences and goalkeepers. He gave his best for the country and redefined the history of football in Kenya.
Oliech’s younger brother, Andrew Oyombe Oliech, also had a successful career in Europe, playing for clubs in Belgium, Qatar, and the UAE. After retirement, Oyombe undertook coaching roles in Sweden and attained a UEFA A licence in 2022. He now hopes to coach Harambee Stars in future.
The youngest of the three, Kevin Oliech, played for several clubs in Kenya before his untimely death in 2019. He succumbed to colon cancer.
Victor Wanyama and McDonald Mariga are one of the finest midfielders to ever play for Kenya. They duo picked up from their father, Noah Wanyama who played for AFC Leopards for 16 years. The family’s patriarch has previously revealed how he molded his children to millionaire sports personalities.
“When I used to play, I would go with them to the stadium. I would give them a ball to play with, and sometimes I brought a ball home, and that is how they learnt to play,” he says.
Mariga began his career at Ulinzi Stars before moving first to Tusker FC and then to Kenya Pipeline while still in school. He was part of the Kamukunji High School ‘Golden Boys’, which also included Kenyan striker Dennis Oliech
The central midfielder moved to Sweden in 2005 to play for third Division side Enköpings SK. After only one season at ESK, he signed for Helsingborgs IF before the 2006 season. Mariga then went to play for Italian side Parma, Real Sociedad (Spain) and Inter Milan (Italy). He hung his boots playing for Spanish second tier Real Oviedo.
Mariga’s brother Victor Wanyama is the captain of Canadian side CF Montreal Impact which plays its trade in the US Major League Soccer (MLS).
He has featured in the past for Belgian side Beerschot, Scotland’s Celtic FC, English sides Southampton and Tottenham Hotspurs.
Thomas Wanyama, a brother to Mariga and Victor also played for Harambee Stars on several occasions as a defender. Thomas played for Nairobi City Stars, Sofapaka and Mathare United.
Twin brothers Titus Mulama and Simon Mulama both played professional football and featured for Harambee Stars. The former scored Kenya’s consolation goal in a 3-1 loss to Mali in the 2004 African cup of Nations.
Titus played for local clubs such as Mathare, KCB, Nakuru All Stars and Sofapaka. He also played for APR in Rwanda and Vestera SK FC (Sweden).
Titus’ exit from football was unceremonious as his contract was terminated by Sofapaka at a time when he was injured.
Just ike his brother who fell in love with football through Nairobi’s dusty pitches, Simon Mulama polished his talent in Nairobi at a tender age. While at Dr. Aggrey Primary School, he was part of Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) and played with children from Mathare, Korogocho, Kariobangi and the neighbourhoods.
He then went to Western Kenya for his secondary school education and studied and played for Kakamega School before transferring to Kisii School in early ’90s.
After secondary school education, Mulama played for AFC Leopards and Mathare United. He also featured for Ismailly SC in Egypt.