Winners of the monthly gongs will receive Sh50, 000 (USD530), a 42-inch Smart TV as well as a trophy engraved in their names in the latest effort to inspire players in the top tier club competition to put their best foot forward.
The awards were launched Tuesday by partnership between the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) and betting firm SportPesa who have injected Sh1.5m renewable annually into the deal.
A panel of SJAK journalists will vote for the recipient of monthly gongs that have no bearing in KPL’s own Footballer of the Year Awards given out at the end of the season.
Tusker FC captain and 2013 Golden Boot runner-up, Jesse Were, hailed the move saying it will raise the standards of the game.
“I want to thank SJAK for this new venture and it is exciting for players. It will encourage us to work harder because at least we know there is someone who will acknowledge our efforts. Also, our league will become better and more competitive,” the lethal marksman who has sunk in five thus far in the infant campaign in a carry on from last season for the Brewers stated.
SJAK will nominate five football writers into the judging panel and according to Secretary General Mike Okinyi, the winner will be on merit and they will rely on statistics from KPL in deciding the recipients starting from March.
“We will look at the performance of a player, his work rate in the team and above all discipline. We are starting immediately with the first award being given next week for the month of March and April. This is a great feat for our league because it will encourage our footballers to work harder,” the veteran television journalist explained.
KPL and Gor Mahia chairman, Ambrose Rachier who graced the launch in Nairobi said the initiative has come at the right time when most of the teams are financially handicapped.
“I cannot even begin to quantify the importance of this new initiative and I really want to thank SJAK and SportPesa for coming up with this idea. This is the first time the league is having such and it will go a long way in improving the standards of football in the country.
“At this time when many of our clubs are facing tough financial times, this will be a huge motivation for them. One player winning will motivate others to work hard and Sh50, 000 is not small money. Everyone will want to win it,” Rachier asserted.
“This is something that we have been trying to do for a long time and we have finally found a partner. We want to thank SportPesa for agreeing to come on board as we seek to improve football in this country,” SJAK president Chris Mbaisi added.
SportPesa Chief Marketing Manager Kester Muhanji is optimistic the partnership will be bettered when the contract comes for renewal.
“We are happy to be associated with this new venture and we are committed to making it even better next year with more cash and bigger prizes.”