NAIROBI, January 26 – The prize money of the SJAK/SportPesa Player of the Month Award will be doubled to Sh100,000 this season.
The deal that will whet the appetite of may a footballer playing in the top flight was realised after co-sponsors, Electronics firm, LG extended its partnership with the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) on a two-year deal worth Sh5m.
Under the fresh agreement, the firm will continue awarding the best player with a 42-inch smart television for the season set to kick-off on February 13.
The new package will also see prize monies in the season-ending annual Footballer of the Year gala increased with the joint selection panel of SJAK and Kenyan Premier League yet to settle for the figures.
Last year, Gor Mahia forward, Michael Olunga, who is undergoing trials in Sweden, scooped the Most Valuable Player Award valued at Sh1m.
“This year, the footballer of the month award is going to be bigger because we intend through our sponsors to double the amount. Last year during the gala we had TVs that were small and others big so, they will be the same 42-inch in size.
“The sponsors are going to support us in many ways like in our seminars because we are in the business of empowering sports journalists,” SJAK chairman Chris Mbaisi announced on Tuesday when signing the new deal.
Just like last December when the association took the awards outside KPL, awarding the best player at the annual Koth Biro tournament, LG Marketing General Manager, Moses Marji said their aim is to take the initiative to other off season tournaments as they strive to develop growth of local football.
“We have increased the amount because we want SJAK to have a comfortable setting so that they can operate properly. We are supporting with the TVs every month but not just during the Premier League season but also in community tournament,” Marji declared.
The Footballer of the Year Awards was introduced March last year with Ali Abondo, Karim Nizigiyimana, Meddie Kagere (Gor Mahia), John Makwata (Ulinzi Stars), Gabriel Andika (Western Stima), Jesse Were (Tusker FC), George Mandela (Muhoroni Youth) and Jimmy Bagaye (City Stars) feted in 2015.
With the amount doubling, competition is expected to rise this term that could see the MVP receive Sh2m.
Clubs are busy recruiting new players with champions Gor casting their net wide, cap tiring the services of Rwanda national team captain Jacques Tuyisenge who comes in to replace forward Meddie Kagere who declined to renew his contract.