Newly-retired Kenyan footballer Allan Wanga shocked fans a few weeks ago when he made announced the decision to hang his boots.
At only 34 years of age, some of the striker’s fans believed his decision was as a result of being left out of Kenya’s AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations) squad.
In an interview with Standard, the Kakamega Homeboyz player admitted he felt bad when he was omitted from the Harambee Stars squad to Egypt.
And who wouldn’t? The former AFC Leopards forward was the top scorer in the local Kenya Premier League.
“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 says, further explaining that he did not retire because of the snub by Coach Sebastien Migne.
“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 at on the team and say, ‘Get that guy out of the field.’
The father of two also talked about his marriage with TV reporter Brenda Mulinya. Thet met on May 2009 when Harambee Stars was facing Guinea; Brenda was covering the match for a TV station.
They became friends on Facebook, and since he was based in Angola then, the romance brewed online.
“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,” he said.
Two years later they were married, with Wanga’s ‘biggest struggle’ being away from home for long stretches of time.
“It was my biggest struggle. The worst time was when I was based in Vietnam in 2011. My son was only two-months-old and I had to be away for 10 months. I had a really tight schedule. We were also in the middle of planning our wedding. There was no WhatsApp at the time and so we had to do it all on Facebook,” he said.
“We keep our love alive by being great friends. In the house, there is no celebrity. She is just Brenda and I am just Allan. We talk a lot and have good communication. We make small occasions important to us by celebrating them all together and making them special, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversaries and our children’s birthdays,” he added.
Wanga, who has now been married for 8 years, says marrying young was probably one of the best decisions he ever made and advises young men to follow suit.
“I advise young men to settle down early because it gives you focus. My children are what I live for. They keep me going. I work hard to make sure they will always be able to live the kind of life I never got to live because I came from nothing,” he is quoted.
On his next step after retirement, Wanga, who doubles up as Kakamega Homeboyz sporting Director, said: “I want to focus on nurturing talent. That is part of my job at the county as the Kakamega County Sports Director. I want to build a sports academy to do that.”
Source: Standard Digital.