There is an old adage that the fruits of one’s hard work are always merry. while some sports personalities misused their mega earnings and now leadsmiserable lives, some invested wisely and are currently enjoying the fruits of their sweat FROM the pitch and track, with attractive monthly incomes from investments, write Charles Thuku and Phillip Yegon
They bestride the sports landscape in the international arena like a colossus, which has made them mega millionaires. While some of these sportsmen and women are now grappling with a life of penury upon retirement after blowing up their hard-earned cash, a good number of them have been sagacious enough to invest either in real estate, farming and cottage industries, all which have borne good returns.
Although football makes the smallest fraction out of individuals who have struck it rich, the name Victor Wanyama who turns out for English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspurs stands out among those who are super rich to the extent of putting up good longterm investments.
Wanyama, who rose from humble beginnings at Scottish side Celtic before moving to Southampton, owns an opulent residential flat in the heart of London which cost him millions of shillings to buy.
Wanyama, who has carved a niche for himself as a philanthropist, has his lion’s share of investments in real estate in Kenya and which are growing by the day especially with his increased earnings at Tottenham.
Wanyama is the proud owner of five flats in Donholm Phase Five each of which fetches him Sh 50,000 (which translates to Sh 250,000) and recently bought two parcels of land in Kitale and Busia totaling 100 acres at an estimated price of Sh200 million.
Wanyama, a product of Kamukunji High School, Nairobi, also owns a six-bedroom house in Riara along Ngong Road, worth around Sh50 million, where he usually resides while on vacation in Kenya.
Perhaps in the impending philanthropic front that might be beneficial to aspiring sportsmen, Wanyama has bought land near Moi’s Bridge in Kitale where he is putting up a mega facility that will be complete with football, basketball and swimming facilities.
Wanyama’s elder sibling McDonald Mariga who plays for Spanish Second Division side Real Oviedo has not been left behind in the investment craze as he is the proprietor of three maisonettes in Donholm, Nairobi, which fetch over Sh 100,000 monthly in rent.
Besides these assets, Mariga owns a state-of-the-art bungalow worth around Sh100 million in Malindi where he is neighbour to renowned Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore.
Elsewhere in Italy, where Mariga spent about a decade playing professional football, he owns a chain of boutiques which are run by his wife.
In the meantime, investments of track athletes are comparatively larger and equally make an interesting read, especially those from Eldoret, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi counties in the North Rift region which have the highest concentration of millionaires.
Eldoret has been described as the epicentre of the investments by track-stars as there are over 20 commercial buildings in the central business district which they proudly call theirs. Former world steeplechase champion Moses Kiptanui is probably the athlete with the biggest investments in the region.
Kiptanui owns the iconic Komora Centre and Tulin Supermarkets in Eldoret, Kitale and Pokot, buildings he purchased after winning three straight world steeplechase titles in 1991, 1993 and 1995. What’s more, Kiptanui owns Utamaduni House and Komora Estates both in Eldoret and London.
Besides investing in real estate, Kiptanui has also cut his niche in farming with a nascent dairy business in Cherangany besides owning several acres of maize fields in Trans Nzoia County.
Kiptanui’s fortunes are least surprising as he holds the enviable feat of being the Kenyan athlete who has featured in most money-spinning Golden Leagues, Grand Prix and Diamond Leagues around the globe. Granted, Kiptanui is the first athlete to win three consecutive times since the inception of the Diamond League.
WOMEN NOT LEFT OUT
Another athlete who is swimming in riches is multiple Boston Marathon champion Mary Keitany who has invested her earnings in the construction of high-end Winstar Hotel in Eldoret town which she runs with her husband Charles Koech.
Keitany, who is based in Iten, the home of Kenya’s long-distance runners, won the 2015 New York Marathon pocketing US$ 100,000 (Sh 10 million) in prize money and a bonus of US$ 25,000 (Sh 2.5 million) for running a sub-time of 2.25 seconds.
Back to the men celebrities who have embraced investing to have a roof over their heads in future, the name Paul Ereng’ does not miss out. Ereng’, the1988 Seoul Olympics 800 metres champion owns a 50-acre farm in Kitale besides the imposing Kiremi Arcade that houses Kenya Police Sacco offices. Then there is 10,000 metres legend Moses Tanui, who is also a former Vienna and Boston Marathon champion.
Tanui, a soft-spoken figure during his heyday as an athlete, has invested in mega buildings in the heart of Eldoret town, one which he has leased to Texas Cancer Centre, who dole out over Sh200,000 monthly in rent.
Soft spoken Paul Kipsiele Koech who has conquered the world in the 3,000m steeplechase, has also made good use of his earnings from sports, opening a large dairy farm at Kapchepkoro, in the outskirts of Sotik Town where his more than 50 dairy cows earn him more than Sh400, 000 monthly.
Almost similar traits have been followed by former world indoor 3,000 metres record holder Daniel Komen who owns Porters House Private Academy in Eldoret. The list would be incomplete without mention of former long-distance runner Lornah Kiplagat who has built a high altitude centre in Iten that rakes in millions of shillings by attracting local and foreign athletes.