Deterioration of Ksh75M-earner Daniel Adongo: Athlete’s father speaks on son’s woes

By , K24 Digital
On Sat, 15 Aug, 2020 12:57 | 5 mins read
Daniel Adongo played in the American NFL for three seasons, beginning 2013. [PHOTO | K24 DIGITAL]
Daniel Adongo played in the American NFL for three seasons, beginning 2013. [PHOTO | K24 DIGITAL]
Daniel Adongo played in the American NFL for three seasons, beginning 2013. [PHOTO | K24 DIGITAL]

Standing at 6’6 tall, Daniel Adongo is a human tower. The last time he spoke publicly about his weight -- that was on March 24, 2014 on Jeff Koinange Live Show on KTN -- Adongo said he posted 124 kilograms on the scale.

In the 48-minute interview uploaded to YouTube on March 26, 2014, the second-born in a family of two male siblings, cut a figure of a man who knew so well how to handle the attention that was being thrown his direction, and the challenges that life pose to the human race.

“If you are able to handle yourself properly and accurately, then you will be a man. If you are able to structure yourself and handle everything around you well, even when the walls are crushing and your friends are leaving you, then it is during times such as those that you become a man,” the then-24-year-old megastar, who described himself as a religious and staunch Catholic faithful, told the host Jeff Koinange.

Six years down the line, it appears Adongo strayed from what he believed in: “handling everything around him well”. Videos of Adongo -- looking a pale shadow of his former dashing self -- recently littered social media; be it Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

In his nose alone, Adongo had seven piercings; from his mouth, smoke billowed like it would from a chimney, firmly clutched in his left hand, was a bottle of alcohol, in a chain ring around his hat, were two sticks of bhang ordinately held by the ring, his beards dyed white and tens of chains hung around his neck. He moved his head from side to side suggesting he was dancing to Hip Hop music playing in the background. The well-toned body, that was once an envy of many men worldwide, wasn’t what he wanted to flaunt at this time.

Adongo’s degrade started in 2015, when a woman he was allegedly dating in the USA filed at least two reports accusing him of physically assaulting her on separate occasions. That allegation leveled against him, resulted in Adongo, who was playing for the Indianapolis Colts Franchise in the American National Football League (NFL), be suspended from the team. From then, things have never been the same for the lover of raw foods.

A visit on his Instagram page shows that Adongo deviated from his formerly strongly-held Catholic belief. If his Instagram posts are anything to go by, Adongo has now developed a preference for Asian and Middle East religions.

One of the ideologies he currently subscribes to, is “Confucianism”.

“Confucianism is highly influential in the history of East Asia and is a complex system of social, moral and political thought. Even though it is debatable, as whether to Confucianism is a religion or simply a system of facts, it rejects legalism of ritualism and also endorses meritocracy as the ideal of nobility, espousing familial duty, loyalty and humanness,” reads a screenshot he shared on his Instagram page on June 7, 2020. This is just one of the many Asian and Middle East “religious beliefs” he now seems to follow diligently.

In the March 24, 2014 interview on JKL, Adongo said he feared failure. It appears when his career got a hurdle, it hit him hard; pushing him to the streets.

“Why would I dedicate my whole life, time and effort on something, while I know so well that I do not want to be great and my team to be successful?” he said when Jeff Koinange asked him to project the years he would play in the NFL. At the time, he had completed a season in the league.

Asked about the career he would have pursued had he not gone the rugby or American football routes, Adongo said: “I would have loved to study medicine, perhaps be a neurosurgeon.”

Now, it appears, he has lost (hopefully temporarily), the charm, the power and the respect he once enjoyed.

Several screenshots of messages alleged to be shared between Adongo and his mother paint a picture of a mentally disturbed man. In one of the text messages, Adongo’s alleged mother tells him that she had slipped $20 (Ksh2,170) under his door so that he could use the money on food. Armed with profanities, Adongo dismissed his mother. K24 Digital reached the footballer’s mother for comment, but she did not reply at the time of writing.

The ruined relationship between mother and son completely contradicts remarks Adongo once said about his mother six years ago.

“When I am out there (in the USA), I miss my mother’s cooking. And I would say, she prepares the sweetest meals I have ever eaten. Since I was in diapers, I have never had a bad meal prepared by my mum,” he said so fondly in the March 24, 2014 interview on JKL.

The footballer’s father, Joseph Adongo, has now come out to urge Kenyans to exercise patience as family handles the Strathmore School alumnus’ situation.

“Whether Dan is in trouble is neither here nor there, but I want to tell his fans and Kenyans that his family is doing everything to put things under control,” Joseph, who works as a banking services top officer in Juba, South Sudan, told Nation Sport.

The footballer’s dad added that what his son is currently going through is representative of most celebrities’ lives after their careers crumble.

“Most slump into depression hence need help. Dan’s situation needs sobriety and calmness,” he said. “The media can build or destroy someone and that is why I am pleading with the media so that Dan doesn’t sink deep into depression.”

Hopefully, Daniel Adongo will get back on his feet and live to the powerful advice he gave on JKL about the need for one to push hard to realise success in whatever he or she does.

“Knowing is not enough, you must apply; being willing is not enough, you must do. Find out what you are good at and go do it, pursue it every day,” he said.

We are proud of Adongo for knowing what his success at the NFL meant for him and Kenyans, and we are hopeful he will rise again.

“My success is not just an individual’s achievement, I am representing an entire community,” he once said.

Who is Daniel Adongo?

Daniel Adongo, 30, is a former rugby player, who before transitioning to the American National Football League (NFL) in 2013, played for several teams in Kenya and South Africa.

He was born in Nairobi; raised in the capital city of Kenya, and later moved to London, South Africa and New Zealand.

Between 2007 and 2012, Adongo plied his trade for the Sharks’ young and adult teams in SA.

The teams he played for include: Sharks Academy, Sharks Under 19, Sharks Under 21, Sharks Sevens, Blue Bulls and Southern Kings.

In 2013, the Indianapolis Colts Franchise sent scouts to the rugby team Adongo was playing for at the time -- the Southern Kings in South Africa -- and, upon evaluating Adongo’s skills and abilities, they asked him if he could transition from rugby to American football, an offer Adongo accepted.

In the three full seasons that Adongo played for the Indianapolis Colts, he earned $694, 694 (Ksh75.3 million), according to

In the USA, only one per cent of the 320 million-plus people play American football, and 99 per cent of the players are usually American nationals. Adongo, the first Kenyan national to play in the NFL, represented the extremely minority one per cent of non-Americans, who were lucky to play in the prestigious league.