Off-the-Pitch

Daniel Adongo: Troubled star earned Sh70 million at 25… now begging mum at 30!

Washed out and depressed, this celebrity is juggling drugs, the occult and other dark forces

Dummy runner: Daniel Adongo started off as a rugby prodigy for Strathmore before scouts began scrambling for his signature. Now destitute, he needs psychiatric help. Adongo was so huge as a toddler his grandpa nicknamed him ‘Liech’ (Dholuo for elephant).

By Idris ‘Shoes’ Lule

Contributing editor/sports

@UndercoverKe

He looks rugged, like a delusional street boy. But Daniel Adongo, now seemingly high on something stronger than a cigarette, earned Sh75 million by the time he was 25 years playing in the National Football League (NFL) in America- the first Kenyan to do so.

But now the 30 year old is a mixture of a washed out, depressed sports star dribbling with narcotics and dalliances with dark forces, according to his disturbing social media postings. His recent viral video, is a far cry from the Daniel Ojiambo Adongo who set the rugby scene ablaze as Young Player of the Year during the 2006 Safari Sevens in Nairobi. He was just 17, a winger for Quins and Strathmore School. The scouts from South Africa saw something special.

Southern Kings paid him Sh8.7 million annually, you know for what…just practicing with the main team

Blood bin: Daniel Adongo’s life went south after the Indianapolis Colts team dumped him following cops questioning him over domestic violence against his girlfriend in 2015. His grandfather is Ondiek Chilo Miguda, former MP for Nyakach Constituency.

Shortly, the last born of Joseph (who says they’re working on his predicament) and Beatrice Adongo’s two boys (elder brother Leon Adongo was also a rugger player turned athlete), was with the best rugby feeder-centres in the world-the Sharks Academy in Durban, South Africa. That was in 2007. A series of rugby teams lined up including the Blue Bulls and Southern Kings- who paid him Sh8.7 million annually, you know for what…just practicing with the main team!

Scrummed: Daniel’s elder brother, Leon Adongo with parents Joseph and Beatrice Adongo during a Safari Sevens event. Both Daniel and Leon refused to be put in strollers and preferred pushing them instead.

At the same time, Indianapolis Colts whose motto is ‘Build the Monster,’ were searching for fresh rugby or athletic studs for polishing into American football. That was how Hong Kong based scout Johnny Gbenda-Charles recommended Adongo who played rugby with ‘unparalleled degree of violence’, mushing faces.

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Scouts at Colts were impressed by his size, height, speed, athleticism, arms that ‘looked like pulsing fire hoses.’ His father told him “go for it!” In 2013, and despite eye-watering rugby offers from France, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, Adongo flew to America-where a six year contract can be terminated after a year.

After medical examinations and physical training, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said “everybody couldn’t wait to get hold of this guy.” Adongo signed a Sh40 million contract-for practicing for an entire season hadi aive!…while adding weight from 100 to 120kgs ‘on a diet of fruits.’

In three seasons with the Colts for two years to 2015, Adongo’s career earnings totaled Sh70 million

Ball back: Joseph and Beatrice Adongo in their Lavington home, Nairobi. He was an airline manager in London where Daniel Adongo lived when he was six.

But shortly, the former Kenya-Under 18 was training four hours more than anyone else.  “Success is not easy otherwise anybody would be able to do … many want to shine like a diamond but few want to go through the process of sharpening,” he told Jeff Koinange in 2013 of how he was sped up to the main team.

Adongo had ‘kicked open the bathroom, grabbed her by the throat and held her underwater in the bath tab’

Blindside: Daniel Adongo was offloaded and no other team picked him. He was just 25. American football has serious mental health issues from concussions caused by helmet to helmet collisions which spectators gleefully enjoy. 

In three seasons with the Colts from 2013 to 2015, Adongo’s career earnings totaled $700, 000 or Sh70 million, according to Spotrac. But things went south after a woman allegedly living with him sent a 911 distress call in December 2015. Cops were told that Adongo had previously “kicked open the bathroom door, grabbed her by the throat and held her underwater in the bath tab.”  

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Other accusations included punching holes in the walls, damaging appliances, the woman’s car, furniture and cell phones.

Arguments with his mother are about sending him Sh10, 000 after a series of unprintable insults

Ankle tap: Daniel Adongo was one in a generation talent but now a sad ‘has-been’

Adongo had told Jeff Koinange: You can’t succeed in an environment that is not conducive. You can’t be arguing with people, you can’t be angry, you can’t expose yourself to negative things that affect your mental wellbeing…or even fighting with your girlfriend of spouse can affect your performance.”

That domestic tiff, attracting cops, was only an incident report. No criminal charges were filed after the woman refused medical assistance. But it forced the Indianapolis Colts to give his contract a waiver-basically offloading him to other interested teams. None signed him. His career came to an end. So did the money…or what is left of it. Arguments with his mother are about sending him Sh10, 000 after a series of unprintable insults. Now the son she thought would be a priest for being too churchy, needs more than just help.

Adongo loves English writer Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, If, whose opening line goes: If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…but it seems he lost his-alongside dreams of bringing American football to Kenya.

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