SOYA looks West


NAIROBI, Kenya, December 8- Former Nigeria defender Taribo West will be this year’s special guest at Friday’s Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year awards.

West becomes the second former Super Eagles to grace the gala following in the steps of Dan Amokachi who was the guest in 2008.

West’s presence is courtesy of Supersport.

“SOYA Awards is delighted to announce that Taribo West will be coming to Kenya for this year’s awards, a sign that the annual function to reward top sportspersons, now in its seventh year, is taking its rightful place in the national and international sporting calendar,” SOYA patron Paul Tergat said on Wednesday.

Past chief guests include the world’s most decorated and all time long distance runner Haile Gebreselassie of Ethiopia, who came in 2005 and South African marathon star Hendrix Ramaala in 2006.

Capped 41 times, West, 36, was easily the most recognisable Super Eagles player with his green yellow dreadlocks popping from a clean-shaven head when the Nigerian national team was at its best.

He played in two FIFA World Cups in France (1998) and 2002 in Japan/Korea. He also won the Olympic Games gold medal in Atlanta in 1996.

Among the top European clubs he played for are Auxerre in France, Internazionale de Milano of Italy, with whom he won UEFA Cup title in 1998, and their city rivals AC Milan.

When he steps on the podium to address the auspicious occasion on Friday, Kenya’s legion of football fans will be very nostalgic about the golden era of African football when IT included Jay Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Amokachi, among others.

He retired two years ago after a brief spell with an Iranian club Paykan and a failed move to a Spanish Second Division Club Xerez CD.