My game approach has improved

Published on 20/06/2009

McDonald Mariga speaks to Gilbert Wandera about today’s World Cup clash against Mozambique and his stint at Parma.

QUESTION: Kenya face a tough match today against Mozambique. What are the team’s chances?

ANSWER: Everybody understands it is a must match win for us and we are ready to deliver. The morale is high in camp and we cannot wait for the match. There is a high level of competition and no one knows who is going to start. The anticipation is great and we are looking forward to the match.

QUESTION: After going down in the two opening matches, do you believe there is still a realistic chance to qualify for the World Cup?

ANSWER: Some are saying we should forget the World Cup but the truth is we still have an outside chance to qualify. Nigeria and Tunisia who are group leaders could slip in their next games and if we win two or three matches along the way, it is still possible to make it. However if all fails then we must focus on picking an Africa Cup of Nations ticket. This should gives us something positive from this campaign.

McDonald Mariga

QUESTION: The team has undergone some significant changes compared to the side, which played last year. Have these changes brought any positive developments in the team.

ANSWER: All I can say is that the team is in great shape and ready to go for the remaining matches of this campaign.

QUESTION: Where did the team go wrong in the opening two matches of these qualifiers?

ANSWER: It was all a question of bad luck. Against Tunisia they scored a

goal they should not have and we missed our chances. They did not deserve to win the match. We could not put away our clear chances against Nigeria and they scored an early goal to burry us.

QUESTION: Do you think these two losses can have a bearing on the team’s future performance?

ANSWER: Not at all. It is all behind us now and we are focusing on overcoming Mozambique to put us right back on track in these qualifiers.

QUESTION: Your club is back in Serie ‘A’. How do you feel about playing in the top league again?

ANSWER: It is obviously a great feeling to be back in Serie ‘A’. It is a different ball game at this level with a better quality of players. You always get better rubbing shoulders with the big players in Europe.

QUESTION: It must have been disheartening to be relegated last season. What are some of the reasons for this?

ANSWER: Again it was pure bad luck. We narrowly lost some matches we should have won and also drew others that were within our grasp. We gave our best in most matches but at certain times it was disheartening when some of our players were abruptly sent off. This is all forgotten and we are looking forward to the top competition.

QUESTION: You have been in Italy for three years now, how different is the Italian league compared to Sweden where you started your professional career?

ANSWER: There is certainly a big difference. It is more competitive in Italy and the competition to get the starting jersey is immense. Here we have players from all over the world fighting to get a starting line-up.

QUESTION: How much has your game improved since turning professional?

ANSWER: It is certainly different. I am not the way I used to be. My approach to the game has vastly improved and more confident on the ball. It adds a touch of class to your game.

QUESTION: Have you suffered any racist taunts while playing in Italy?

ANSWER: Yes, but in a few isolated incidences. It is nothing to worry about for me though because I am focused on achieving my goal.

QUESTION: So how much do you earn?

ANSWER: This is a private matter and I want it to stay that way. But all I can say is that I am comfortable. My family is not complaining either.

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