In his first interview after his move to Internazionale (Inter Milan), Kenyan footballer McDonald Mariga told the Daily Nation, that “Football is a matter of working hard and trying to defy all odds. And injuries notwithstanding, I believe I will make it in the end,” Mariga, 22, said on phone from Milan.
Rewind to 2005, fresh from the 2004 Nations Cup and African club continental engagements with local giants APR, our very own Oliver Karekezi signed for Helsingborgs IF.
In a same year, Mariga signed for third Division side Enköpings SK two divisions down Karekezi’s status. After only one season at ESK, he was in the same squad with Karekezi.
Karekezi was rubbing shoulders with Swedish legend Henrik Larsson while Mariga was a virtual unknown.
Larsson had returned to his hometown club after helping FC Barcelona win the Spanish league title and the Champions League.
The Rwandan skipper was learning from the master but he failed to utilize the chance.
Karekezi was a regular while the Kenyan was just establishing himself in the team.
At his prime Karekezi was a strong player and good in the air. He knew how to keep the ball, hard working and would dictate the follow of the game. He was the national team’s playmaker.
Amavubi Stars’ prolific midfielder and skipper was on the rise thanks to his exploits in Sweden. He was trailed by Mariga’s latest former club, Parma and English premiership side Wigan. It was during this transfer speculation madness the Karezeki’s star started to fade.
In his first season with Helsingborgs IF scored five goals in 18 matches. In 2006, he scored 11 goals thus becoming the team’s top scorer in Allsvenskan. The final nil in his career was the move to Hamarkameratene in the Norwegian Premier Division.
HamKam were most recently promoted to the Norwegian Premier League in 2007.
A third place finish in 1970 is the highest position that the team has held in the Premier League.
A club’s history is very important when making the decision; Karezeki may have looked at the money that was on offer.
Since he move in January 2008, Copenhagen Fc, Notts County and Egyptian giants Al Ahly, have been mentioned as possible destinations but to no avail.
Currently club less, our very own needs to a fresh start if he is to resurrect his fast nose diving career as he took his eyes off hard work and trying to defy all odds.