- Just a decade after he partnered Musa Otieno in defence as Harambee Stars qualified for the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations, Waweru’s life has taken a serious downslide.
- Waweru played for Kenya Commercial Bank, AFC Leopards and later Tusker in the process winning several medals.
The story of George ‘Jojo’ Waweru typifies that of several former footballers struggling to eke a living after shining for the national team and their clubs.
Just a decade after he partnered Musa Otieno in defence as Harambee Stars qualified for the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations, Waweru’s life has taken a serious downslide.
The lanky former Kenyan international nowadays spends much of his time at Maringo Estate, where he grew up, drinking and chewing khat (miraa) with his pals; life has hopelessly rendered him to this situation and there seems to be no avenue out of it.
Waweru is trying to rehabilitate himself from alcohol addiction and he says he is slowly succeeding while at the same time trying to do some little farming in the village a venture that brings him very little money which is barely enough for his subsistence.
Yet, in that sorry state, Waweru, a Kenyan Premier League winner with Tusker clings on the hope that things will one day get better.
“I blame nobody. I believe things will one day get better for me. I work hard every day and I need nobody to feel sorry for me,” Waweru says.
Having played in Europe too, Waweru represents the last generation of Kenyan footballers to have played in the Africa Cup of Nations. But that was probably the last time he played at the top of his game.
A neck injury, he says he sustained during training, was aggravated in the first game Kenya played at the Nations Cup losing 3-0 to Mali.
NAMED BEST PLAYER
He never recovered fully and despite the fact he later played in Sweden for Vasteras and was named the best player in the lower tier league, his football career took a sudden nosedive.
Although he would attempt to make a comeback, things never really worked out for him.
“People say bad things about how I got injured. Some have said I was mugged but the truth is, I got injured during training and the medical staff did not attend to it well. I think I am lucky to be alive today.”
With no better thing to do apart from farming and hanging around the estate with his boyhood friends, Waweru has nothing much to show for his illustrious football career, other than a few photos of him in national team and club colours.
But the retired player insists he he has no regrets.
Waweru says when he got the injury, the federation neglected him coming up with a story that he had been attacked by thugs, his club Tusker fired him and he was left to struggle to get medical attention.