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Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Kenya Prime Minister Odinga pushed for Mariga permit

Kenya's McDonald Mariga
Kenya's McDonald Mariga has joined Inter Milan from Parma

Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga insists he did all he could to help McDonald Mariga get a UK work permit so he could sign for Manchester City.

Mariga's transfer from Italian club Parma fell through after he lost an appeal over his permit.

He signed a four-year deal with Italian champions Inter Milan instead.

"I would like to assure soccer fans and all Kenyans that with the British High Commissioner, I've done what I could to get Mariga into Man City," Odinga said.

"I spent a minimum of three hours on phone talking to Gordon Brown's office, the Africa Office, office of Culture and Sports, the Home office, the FA president Lord Treisman and to Mariga himself," Odinga said.

Odinga claims that 22-year-old Mariga eventually obtained a UK work permit but only after the transfer window for the English Premier League had closed.

If true, it means that Mariga would be able to join an English Premier League club when the next transfer window opens at the end of the season.

If he had joined City, he would have been the first player from the Premier League-mad east Africa country to sign for the top English league.

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see also
Man City denied permit for Mariga
01 Feb 10 |  Man City
Kenya stars to miss Nigeria showdown
09 Nov 09 |  African
Mariga seals permanent Parma deal
10 May 08 |  African
Redknapp ends interest in Mariga
08 Jun 07 |  Portsmouth

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