By: CELLESTINE OLILO
Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia dominated the Footballer of the Year Awards (Foya) nominees that were announced on Wednesday at the KPL headquarters.
Musa Mohammed, Michael Olunga, defenders Karim Nizigiyimana and Harun Shakava, Meddie Kagere, Khalid Aucho, Collins Okoth as well as goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch are all in the run in for top accolades in the preliminary list that has eight players in every category.
Olunga and Nizigiyimana are in the run in for the Sh1 million cash prize for the season’s Most Valuable Player where they will square it out with the league’s top scorer Jesse Were (Tusker), David King’atua (Bandari), Bernard Mang’oli (AFC Leopards) and Gambian striker Ebrimma Sanneh (Nairobi City Stars).
The midfield category will be a fierce battle as all the eight nominees have been impressive for their sides. The Bandari duo of King’atua and Anthony Kimani, Ingwe’s Mang’oli, Khalid Aucho and Collins Okoth (both Gor Mahia) as well Eric Johanna (Mathare United) will battle for the top prize.
Organisers Kenyan Premier League and Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (Sjak) have made alterations in this year’s awards to the effect that the New Player of the year will have to be a player who is below 23 years, and on his debut season in the top flight league this year.
Also, the league’s Most Valuable Player category will have only one winner, and there will be no award for the runners’ up in that category.
Sjak chairman Chris Mbaisi said that this year’s awards will be given on to merit.
“We have received nominations from the local sports journalists and the coaches have also sent in their nominations. The KPL has supplied us with the necessary data on these players and I can assure you that all these players are here on merit,” he said.
The front runners in the Coach of the Year accolade are Frank Nuttall, who led Gor Mahia to clinch the title unbeaten, Robert Matano (Ulinzi Stars), Twahir Muhiddin (Bandari) and Muhoroni Youth’s Paul Nkata.
The list of will be whittled down to five players in every category, and the finalists will be announced on December 3rd, six days to the awards ceremony.
Most Valuable Player: Michael Olunga, Meddie Kagere, Karim Nizigiyimana (all Gor Mahia), Jesse Were (Tusker), David Kingatua (Bandari), Bernard Mangoli (AFC Leopards), John Makwatta (Ulinzi Stars), Ebrimma Sanneh (City Stars).
Defender of the Year: Karim Nzigiyimama, Musa Mohamed, Haroun Shakava (all Gor Mahia), Eugene Asike (Tusker), Edwin Wafula (AFC Leopards), Noah Abich (Mathare United), Collins Shivachi (Sofapaka), Mohamed Sharif (Bandari), Geoffrey Kokoyo (Ulinzi Stars), Kapilima Kanamuli (Ushuru).
Midfielder of the Year: Bernard Mang’oli (AFC Leopards), Khalid Aucho, Collins Okoth (both Gor Mahia), Eric Johanna (Mathare United), David King’atua, Anthony Kimani (both Bandari), George Mandela (Muhoroni Youth), Kevin Amwayi (Ulinzi Stars).
New Player of the Year: Ebrimma Sanneh (City Stars), Eston Esiye (Western Stima), George Mandela (Muhoroni Youth), Alphonce Ndonye (Mathare United), Farid Mohamed (Bandari), Paul Michika (Muhoroni), Louis Masika, Samuel Wailer (both City Stars).
Coach of the Year: Frank Nuttall (Gor Mahia), Robert Matano (Ulinzi Stars), Twahir Muhidin ( Bandari), Paul Nkata (Muhoroni Youth), Ken Kenyatta (Ushuru), Zdravko Logarusic (AFC Leopards), Stanley Okumbi (Mathare United), Henry Omino (Western Stima).
Goalkeeper of the Year: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Jairus Adira (Chemelil), James Saruni (Ulinzi Stars), Farouk Shikhalo (Muhoroni Youth), Wilson Obungu (Bandari), Allan Owiny (Sony Sugar), Gabriel Andika (Western Stima), David Okello (Sofapaka).
Fair Play player of the Year: John Baraza (Sofapaka), Vincent Nyaberi (Thika United), Michael Olunga (Gor Mahia), Shaban Kenga (Bandari), Alfred Onyango (Sony Sugar), Humphrey Mieno (Tusker), Gabriel Andika (Western Stima).
New Centre Referee of the Year: Michael Iluve, Judith Muhonja, Raymond Onyango, Juma Turke, Duncan Mudaki.
New Assistant Referee of the Year: Stephen Adeya, Eric Sadera, Richard Keya, Judy Wamoro, Michael Maru, Gabriel Abidha, Beth Wambui, George Mwangi.
Team Manager of the Year: William Muluya (Mathare United), Jolawi Abondo (Gor Mahia), Nevile Pudo (City Stars), David Mwangi (Ulinzi), Moses Jobita (Western Stima), Stock Ouma (Sony Sugar).
Fair Play Team of the Year: Gor Mahia, Western Stima, Bandari, Mathare United, Sony Sugar, AFC Leopards, Ushuru, Tusker.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION