In this life, every parent’s wish is always to see their children succeed in life. While the majority emphasise on academic excellence, the Wanyamas – family of Noah Wanyama, has produced successful athletes, all of whom followed in the footsteps of their father.
The retired footballer is the father of former Harambee Stars captain, MacDonald Mariga, Victor Wanyama, Thomas Wanyama, Sylvester Wanyama, and Mercy Wanyama, all of whom have excelled in their disciplines.
In this article, WoK narrates the success story of the Wanyamas while highlighting the feats achieved by the amazing sportsmen and woman who hail from this family.
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The patriarch of the Wanyamas played as a winger for Kenya Premier League side AFC Leopards and the Harambee Stars national team.
Wanyama met his wife and mother to their children, Mildred Wanyama through sports. She was a netball player. The couple met while working for the Kenya Railways in the 1970s.
“I was just a junior clerk and he was senior clerk. We met through sports during the KICOSO games. That is where our journey began,” she said during a past interview with Citizen TV.
Wanyama played for AFC Leopard for 16 years and had a stint with Harambee Stars in the 1970s.
“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.
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The veteran footballer believes that the discipline he instilled in his children over the years contributed to their success.
“I used to buy only sukuma wiki, but now I can eat meat. I can drive, and live in a good house,” he says.
Mariga is arguably one of the greatest footballers the country has ever produced. He played football in Europe featuring for various clubs in his illustrious career.
The former Harambee Stars captain began his playing 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. His success at Helsingborgs was immediate.
Mariga signed for Parma which played in Italy’s Serie A. His impressive stint earned him a move to Inter Milan where he won the UEFA Champions League in 2010.
He moved to Real Sociedad in the Spanish La Liga before returning to Inter where he was loaned out to Parma yet again. Mariga later moved to Spanish second-tier side Real Oviedo where he retired.
The immediate former Harambee Stars captain’s footballing resume speaks for itself. As of today, 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, Sylvester Wanyama
The two Wanyamas ply their trade in the Kenyan leagues. Thomas was a midfielder for KPL side Sofapaka.
Mercy is a professional basketball player who plays her trade in Europe. She was the basketball captain at Lang’ata high school and went on to build her career in the sport.
After secondary school, Mercy started playing for Storms, then moved to Equity Hawks from 2016 until 2018 then went to KPA. She began her continental assignments and kicked off the journey in Nigeria for the club championships at the age of 23 years. This was after putting in a lot of work and feeling qualified for the next level.
She attributes part of her success to her brothers Victor and Mariga whom she says really helped her advance her skills in the sport. She notes that they helped her adjust and finally decided to hit the gym.
“They started watching my games and said I wasn’t ready. They encouraged me to hit the gym and improve then finally acknowledged my readiness and connected me,” She added.
She joined Spain’s Ensino for two seasons. She played for ADBA Avilés from 2018 for two other seasons and was first capped in Kenya for the under eighteen during her expected time to sit for the MOCK Exams.
Mercy, whose father is a former AFC Leopard player, represented Kenya Basketball Federation’s Women premier league.
In 2010, while still playing for Inter Milan, Mariga bought a lavish house for his parents in the posh suburbs of Lavington estate in Nairobi.
Inside the two-storey palatial house that is well furnished, a medium-sized aquarium could be seen delicately placed in the living room with the highlight being a trophy cabinet bearing all the trophies and medals won by Mariga, Victor, Thomas, and mercy.