Kenyan international, Allan Wanga has been a mainstay in Kenyan football since making his Kenyan Premier League debut back in 2007, notching up stints in Angola, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Tanzania, and Sudan. I caught up with the evergreen veteran for a brief interview.
You currently lead the Golden Boot race with 17 goals, one clear of the chasing pack how confident are you bagging the Golden Boot gong for the first time since 2007?
I’m really working hard to try and win it but at the same time I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself so I’m just taking each game at a time and giving my best in each and every game.
Since making your debut in the KPL back in 2007 you have played top-flight football consistently, what's the secret to staying at the top for that long?
The most important thing is always discipline, staying humble, working hard and praying then you’ll be there. They normally say age is a factor but we have seen even in Europe those players who keep it that way play for a very long time.
You have played in five countries and two continents, how have those abroad experiences shaped your career?
I think it has done me more good because I think 90% of the countries I’ve been in don’t speak English so settling down and doing well there shaped me and gave me the urge to work hard and know that it is never easy.
You recently balanced between studying, working and playing football, talk us through how much of a challenge that was?
It was not easy because I was working and I was also going to University of Nairobi and at the same time also playing for Homeboyz, so balancing the three was not easy but I thank God I managed and I did well, I mean you can see the results after finishing school and now my focus is playing and working.
Which course specifically were you doing?
Human resource management
We have seen most Kenyan footballers take studies after football or end studies at an early level, what motivated you to pursue further studies while still actively playing?
I grew up seeing some of our legends that we used to watch when we were young suffer after football and it gave me the urge to work hard and not only focus on football but also my future, my kids future, and my family. I started my further studies while still at AFC Leopards, I think in 2013 then I moved to Sudan so when I came back and went to Kakamega I decided to finish with school so that I can focus now on football and when the time comes to hang my boots I’ll have something and will not need to start afresh again.
You featured in the final minutes of the 3-0 home win against Ethiopia, how do you rate your chances of getting into the final AFCON team?
I’m just trying to work hard, giving my best in each and every game because it’s each and every player’s dream to get that slot so it’s up to the coach to pick the team that will represent Kenya and we are hoping that we get that chance because it is a dream. It’s been a while since Kenya played in the AFCON so every player that is playing in the league now is praying for that chance so we just have to work hard and hope for the best
Sebastien Migne spoke highly of you after that game, what is your relationship with the Harambee Stars coach?
I think he is one coach that has a very good rapport with his players because I think before he even gave me the first call up he gave me a phone call because he had seen me play against Tusker and he told me that he thinks we can work together so that motivated me and every time I’m in the camp I try to push myself to the limit so that I don’t betray his trust in me
We have seen an outcry from the public to include some strikers in the national team and also coaches complaining about the quality of strikers, why do you think there is this problem as a striker?
Every coach has his style of play, so when coach Migne came maybe the strikers in his team were not playing according to his philosophy and it happens worldwide I mean another coach can come and I will not fit in his philosophy so we always just try to work hard. The way my coach in the club needs me to play is not the same way the national team coach would want me to play so it’s just up to you to balance the two so that when you are in the national team you are flexible enough to play according to the coach’s philosophy.