Victor Mugubi Wanyama (born June 25, 1991) is a Kenyan footballer who has played in various leagues as a defensive midfielder. He became the first Kenyan player to score in the UEFA Champions League on November 7, 2012, when he scored the opening goal in Celtic’s 2-1 win over Barcelona. At £12.5 million, he was the most expensive player sold by a Scottish club, surpassing the £9.5 million paid by Russian club Spartak Moscow for Aiden McGeadyin in 2010.
Early Life and Education
Victor Mugubi Wanyama was born in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 25, 1992. Mr. Noah and Mrs. Mildred Wanyama, his parents, were poor. Growing up, he faced numerous challenges. He attended St Peter’s Claver Primary School before moving on to Kamukunji High School for his secondary education. Victor used to owe school fees, which caused him to be chased home. He would sometimes go without food, but he never gave up. He began hustling by selling small provisions in order to keep his body and soul together.
Victor began his football career at a young age after falling in love with Patrick Vieira’s football style. McDonald Mariga, his elder brother and a local footballer, then advised him to pursue a career in football.
After completing his secondary education at the age of 15, he spent three years with JMJ Academy before joining Kenyan Premier League clubs Nairobi City Stars and AFC Leopards. He joined Allsvenskan club Helsingborg in 2007, where his brother McDonald Mariga played, but returned to Kenya after his brother’s departure to Serie A side Parma in 2008.
Victor signed a four-year contract with Beerschot Ac after a successful trial in the summer of 2008. He spent two seasons there. In September 2009, he was suspended for three matches and fined £100 for a violent tackle on Anderlecht’s Matas Suárez.
Celtic, a Scottish Premier League club, wanted to sign him in the summer of 2010, but Beerschot refused.
CSKA Moscow attempted to sign him as well, but were unsuccessful.
Victor scores his first goal for Beerschot against Westerlo on December 11, 2010. In April 2011, he was suspended for three matches again after a video surfaced showing him elbowing Brecht Dejaeghere of K.V. Kortrijk.
Following Celtic’s failed attempt to sign him in the summer of 2010, Wanyama was successfully transferred to Celtic on July 9, 2011 for a fee of £900,000. With a four-year contract, he became the first Kenyan to play in the Scottish Premier League (SPL).
On August 21, 2011, he made his debut for Celtic in a 1-0 loss to St. Johnstone. Victor made his club debut on September 29, 2011, in a 1-1 draw with Italian club Udinese in the Europa League. He scored his first goal for Celtic against Hearts in Celtic Park on December 10, 2011, and his December performance earned him the Scottish Premier League Young Player of the Month award. His second goal came on January 2, 2012, at East End Park, in a 3-0 win over Dunfermline.
Victor also scored in Celtic’s 2-1 win over Dundee United at Celtic Park and 4-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle. His performances for Celtic have earned him a nomination for the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award for 2012-13, but Leigh Griffiths was the winner.
Victor again became the first Kenya ever to play in Premier League after signing into a Premier League Club Southampton on 11 July 2013 for £12.5 million fee.
Southampton is a good club and it has good players, so I just want to train hard and work hard to be a part of the starting XI. We’ll see where that will take me. It feels great and I am happy to be here. There were other options, but Southampton is a club with ambitions so I chose to come here. I’m very grateful to be here and I’m looking forward to playing in the Premier League.
He made his debut on August 17, 2013, in a 1-0 away win against West Bromwich Albion. He appeared 24 times in his first season, but injuries limited his playing time. Victor scored his first goal for the club in a 1-0 victory over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on September 20, 2014, after replacing James Ward-Prowse in the 69th minute. Due to his recent performances, he was named African Player of the Month for September, and he stated, “It is wonderful to be recognized as someone who has done well for his club.”
On June 23, 2016, Tottenham Hotspur announced that they had reached an agreement with Southampton to sign Victor to a five-year contract worth £11 million.
After joining Southampton in July 2013, Mauricio Pochettino brought him to Tottenham. Wanyama scores his first goal for Tottenham against Crystal Palace in the 82nd minute of Spurs’ 1-0 league win, making him the 138th different player to score for the club, extending the club’s record for the most goal scorers for a single club in the Premier League.
He suffered a knee injury against Chelsea in the early part of the 2017-18 season, which lasted four months. In mid-December, he returned to training. On January 2, 2018, he was substituted in an away match against Swansea City, his first appearance since his injury. On February 4, 2018, his equalizer goal in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool was voted Premier League Goal of the Month.
Wanyama suffered another knee injury during a preseason game against Barcelona in the 2018-19 season. He began his first season two months later, following an injury sustained in Spurs’ EFL Cup victory over Watford on penalties. Tottenham had agreed to sell Wanyama to Club Brugge for £13 million at the end of August 2019, but he refused to leave, and the deal fell through.
On March 3, 2020, Tottenham announced that it had reached an agreement to transfer Wanyama to Major League Soccer club Montreal Impact (now CF Montréal), where he would become a Designated Player.
Victor made his debut for Montreal on March 11, 2020, at Stade Olympique in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, where he was named to manager Thierry Henry’s starting lineup.
Victor made his Kenyan national team debut in a friendly match against Nigeria in May 2007 when he was 15 years old. He also appeared in all six of Kenya’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers in 2010. In 2013, he was named captain of his national team. He also played for Kenya’s national team in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Victor will retire from international football in September 2021 after 14 years of service.
Victor comes from a sporting family; his father was a footballer for A.F.C. Leopards in the 1980s, while his sister, Mercy, is a professional basketball player in the United States; McDonald was also a professional footballer; and Thomas and Sylvester, who are both football players in the Kenya Premier League.
Victor Wanyama is managed by ExtraTime Management, and he is sponsored by Adidas.
Victor appeared in Mdudu Boy, a short film about football in Kenya written and directed by actress Ella Smith, in 2015.
- Scottish Premier League: 2011–12, 2012–13
- Scottish Cup: 2012–13
- UEFA Champions League runner-up: 2018–19
- Canadian Championship: 2021
- PFA Scotland Team of the Year(SPL): 2012–13
- SPL Young Player of the Year: 2012–13
- SPL Young Player of the Month: December 2011
Victor is one of the richest footballers in Kenya. His net worth is estimated at $13.9 million