All-Time Top 7 Harambee Stars Players and Their Achievements

Kenya’s national football team, Harambee Stars, has produced outstanding players with immense talent and passion for football. This article discusses seven of the best football players Kenya has ever made. We will also discuss their contributions to the national team and their respective clubs, both locally and internationally.

7. McDonald Mariga

McDonald Mariga Wanyama is a retired professional footballer who played in the defensive midfield position. Mariga started his footballing career while still at school, where he played for Ulinzi Stars before moving to Tusker FC and then to Kenya Pipeline in the Kenyan Premier League.

Mariga also played abroad, in Sweden for Enkopings SK and Helsingborgs IF, in Italy for Parma, Inter Milan, and Latina, and in Spain for Real Sociedad (loan) and Real Oviedo.

Achievements and contributions

Despite missing on becoming the first East African to play in the Premier League, Mariga achieved much in Italy, with Inter Milan winning six honors with the club, including two Italian Cup titles, one Italian Super Cup, one Serie A title, one FIFA Club World Cup and above all one Champions League. He is the first Kenyan to play in and the only one to win the Champions League, and he also helped Parma earn a promotion to Serie A in 2009.

6. James Siang’a (1949-2016)

James Aggrey Siang’a was a former Harambee Stars goalkeeper widely known for his powerful punches. Siang’a was also a former local and international football manager at the club and national levels.

Siang’a played for the original Luo Union before joining Kisumu Hotstars. In 1968, Siang’a was one of the players to join the newly formed Gor Mahia, where he helped the team win the league at their first attempt.

Achievements and honors

Siang’s a multiple winner of the CECAFA Clubs Cup, both a player and manager. He won the title twice with Luo Union as a player in 1976 and 1977 and with Simba SC of Tanzania as a manager. He also helped Harambee Stars Kenya secure a place in the 1972 African Cup of Nations.

Sadly, Siang’a passed away on 9 September 2016, and he will forever be remembered by Kenyan and Tanzanian fans alike.

5. Victor Wanyama

Victor Mugubi Wanyama is a professional football player who plays as a defensive midfielder for CF Montreal of the Major League Soccer (MLS). Wanyama is a young brother to McDonald Mariga, and they are both former Harambee Stars captains.

He started his football career in high school playing for Kamukunji High School, which fields a successful football team, and has seen the likes of McDonald Mariga and Dennis Oliech pass through. After school, he joined Kenyan Premier League clubs Nairobi City and AFC Leopards. Wanyama has played for several European clubs, including Beerschot AC of Denmark, Celtic of Scotland and Southampton, and Tottenham of England.

Achievements and honors

Wanyama has a had a successful football career so far, and he has won several honors, including two Scottish Premiership titles and one Scottish Cup with Celtic. He is the first East African and Kenya player to play and score in the Premier League. He is also the first Kenyan to score in the UEFA Champions League and against Barcelona. Wanyama is also a one-time runner-up of the UEFA Champions League and one-time winner of the Canadian Championship.

4. Bobby Ogola

Bobby Ogola is a former Harambee Stars captain who played as a defender. Ogola was nicknamed the Six Million Dollar Man after being the lead character in a 1980s TV series. He is considered the best defender Kenya has ever produced with his iconic jersey 4 for Harambee Stars and is the most decorated Kenyan captain. He is currently the coach of City Stars of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL).

Achievements and honors

Ogolla has achieved much both as a player and coach in his football career. He is a one-time winner of the African Cup with Gor Mahia and a five-time winner of the CECAFA Cup with the club and the National team, two for Gor and three for the Harambee Stars. He is a multiple winner of the KPL with Gor Mahia.

3. Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas is a former professional footballer who is considered the best Harambee Stars goalkeeper of all time. He possessed great reflexes that allowed him to save penalties from all angles of the goal post.

He began his football career at Mwenge FC, helping them finish third in the national league. Soon, big teams started to notice him, and it didn’t take long before he moved to Kenya Breweries (now Tusker FC) and Abaluya FC (now AFC Leopard). Soon he received a call from the national team.

Achievement and honors

Abbas achieved a lot in his goalkeeping career, including eight CECAFA titles for AFC Leopards and the Harambee Stars. Four for the club and four for the national team. This made him earn the nickname “Kenya one.”

2. Joe Kadenge (1935-2019)

Joe Kadenge was a professional footballer and manager who played a winger. Kadenge was arguably the best footballer Kenya has ever produced. His pure talent has an endearing influence on many Kenyans, making the famous chant “Kadenge na Mpira,” which meant Kadenge with the ball.

Kadenge played for Abaluya FC while coaching Tiriki FC at the same time. He later joined Tiriki FC as a player before retiring shortly. He was appointed team manager of the club after retiring, and he took them on a Netherlands Tour, becoming the first Kenyan club to tour Europe. Kadenge also played and coached the Harambee Stars.

Achievements and honors

Joe won the Kenyan Premier League title with the Abaluya FC, and he scored the fastest goal in the league. He is also a one-time winner of the CECAFA Cup with the Harambee Stars as a manager.

1. Dennis Oliech

Dennis Oliech is a former professional football player who played as a striker. In his prime, Oliech was regarded as the best Kenyan player of all time. Commonly referred to as “The Menace,” Oliech was a beast at his peak with lighting speed, physique, and excellent positioning.

He began his career at Dagoretti Santos, then moved to Mathare United, who refused to sell him to Ligue 1 outfit Marseille. In 2003 he moved to Al-Arabi in Qatar until 2005, when he signed for Nantes in Ligue 1. He spent some time with Nantes, Auxerre (loan), and Ajaccio in France. In 2015 he moved to Dubai CSC of UAE Division 1 before signing for Gor Mahai in 2019 in his homeland, where he retired.

Achievements and honors

Oliech won the CECAFA Cup with Harambee Stars in 2002, winning the Golden Boot. He also helped his national team qualify for AFCON Championship in 2004. He is also Kenya’s all-time top goalscorer with 34 goals from 76 caps. He also featured in The Guardian as one of the promising young players alongside Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie.

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