NAIROBI, January 10- Judges have made their choice. Now, it is the turn of the public to pit itself against the panel by making their choice of the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year as the countdown to the 2015 Safaricom Soya Awards enters its homestretch.
Besides the sportspersons who illuminated 2015, the public can also vote for the men and women’s Team of the Year by dialling *279# on their Safaricom lines and following the network prompt.
The service is toll free with the title-sponsors and integrated communications giant out to give its subscribers the chance to get involved in the flurry of Soya week activity that will culminate in the grand black tie gala at Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Convention Centre on Friday, January 15.
“The nomination and subsequent short-listing process this year was intense and sometimes fiery as compared to recent years since Kenyan sportspersons outdid themselves locally and abroad across multiple disciplines.
“Other logistical preparations are almost complete as we enter Soya week and it is our desire to involve the public as much as possible on the platform Safaricom have provided,” Soya Awards Director, Kaplich Barsito underscored.
Footballer of the Year and lethal Gor Mahia striker, Michael Olunga and local hockey star, Linus Sang are in the running for the public vote on *279# against global athletics beaters, Julius Yego, Asbel Kiprop and Geoffrey Kamworor.
The corresponding Sportswoman category features Nune Bonaya (shooting), Mercy Moim (volleyball), Naomi Wafula (golf) and famed champion distance runners; Gladys Cherono and Florence Kiplagat underlining the diversity on show for 2015.
Domestic club football champions, Gor Mahia who held on to their crown unbeaten last year will vie against Simba 15s national rugby, KCB rugby, national hockey team and Harambee Stars in the men’s Team of the Year category.
Volleyball dominates the women’s nominations with the Malkia Strikers teams for the African and World Grand Prix competing with the squad largely consisting Under 23 players that won the 2015 All Africa Games.
Kenya Pipeline are the third volleyball side with Harambee Starlets and the all-conquering national and continental champions, Telcom Orange side rounding the list.
Meanwhile, the international sporting icon who will be the official guest for the 2015 Soya Awards will be unveiled on Monday at a media briefing in Nairobi.
The global icon’s itinerary will also be disclosed on the day with organisers keen to sprinkle stardust on the annual domestic sporting Oscar parade.
“After missing an international guest last year due to logistical challenges, we have secured a name that will cause excitement among the nominees who will be with us on gala day as well as the public.
“We believe the icon that is expected in mid next week represents what Soya and sport in general is all about, that is reaching the highest peak of achievement by competing clean and upholding discipline and we believe interacting with this star will inspire many sportspersons here to aim for excellence,” Barsito explained.