Blackberry rings to glory at KPL awards

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NAIROBI, Thursday 25 – Gor Mahia striker George ‘Blackberry” Odhiambo added another trophy to his burgeoning collection when he was named the 2010 Kenya Premier League player of the year at the annual awards gala on Wednesday night.
NAIROBI, Thursday 25 – Gor Mahia striker George ‘Blackberry” Odhiambo added another trophy to his burgeoning collection when he was named the 2010 Kenya Premier League player of the year at the annual awards gala on Wednesday night.

It was the second accolade in successive years for the exciting youngster who was also named the New Player of the Year at the 2009 awards and is set to leave for the paid ranks in Denmark.

“I am very happy to win because it shows I am doing something right. This award means a lot to my coach, teammates and I because we all worked hard to make it happen,” Odhiambo told SuperSport.com.

Odhiambo’s win was the climax of a glamorous and glitzy night as footballers-past and present, coaches, sponsors and the corporate world gathered at a Nairobi hotel to honour the outstanding performers of the just concluded season.

Just like they did for most of the season, reigning champions Ulinzi Stars dominated the awards winning four accolades; the goalkeeper of the year, defender, coach and team manager of the year awards.

Goalkeeper Francis Ochieng won the Goalkeeper of the Year award after an outstanding season during which he conceded just 16 goals with Mathare United’s Martin Musalia finishing second while Jerim Onyango of Gor Mahia was third.

“I am so delighted to win the award especially as I missed out on the entire 2009 season with a serious injury so to come back and win the league and be named top goalkeeper is absolutely wonderful,” Ochieng told SuperSport.com.

Geoffrey Kokoyo continued where Ochieng had left off by coming out tops in the Defender of the Year category after another solid season for the army men.

The technical bench of Ulinzi also took home the major accolades with Benjamin Nyangweso who took over the team in May and guided it to the league title winning Coach of the Year while team manager Jack Matanguta won the team manager award.

“These awards are the fruits of all the hard work that we put in at Ulinzi. From the start of the season, we laid down our goals and then went all out to ensure that we achieved them. What we are seeing tonight are the results of hard work, discipline and team spirit,” Matanguta told SuperSport.com.

Sofapaka midfielder Anthony Kimani edged out teammate Stephen Ocholla and Collins Okoth to win Midfielder of the Year to cap off a fine season for the wiry playmaker with Ocholla second and Gor terrier Okoth coming in third.

For the second year running John Barasa took home the top goalscorer’s award after netting 15 times this past season.

“It takes a lot of hard work and training to be able to score the goals. I train everyday on my movements in the box and how to anticipate where the ball will fall so that am at the right place at the right time.”

KCB striker Ezekiel Odera who scored 11 goals in his debut season in the top flight won the New Player of the Year award ahead of Gor Mahia’s Musa Mohammed and Edwin Mwaura who finished second and third respectively.

There was huge cheer when a lifelong football fan Isaac Juma was honoured with the Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The Nakuru based fan is ever present in league matches colorfully painted and leads the cheering squad with his exuberance and passion for the sport.

Fairplay Player of the Year
Allan Otindo

Fairplay Club of the Year
Western Stima

Referee of the Year
Isaac Ochieng

Assistant Referee of the Year
Hassan Aden

Team Manager of the Year
Jack Matanguta

Coach of the Year
Benjamin Nyangweso

Goalkeeper of the Year
Francis Ochieng

Defender of the Year
Geoffrey Kokoyo

Midfielder of the Year
Anthony Kimani

Golden Boot Winner
John Barasa

Footballer of the Year
George Odhiambo

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