Kimani received the highest accolade of the night during the colourful 2011 Footballer of the Year (Foya) Gala ceremony on Wednesday after a barnstorming season for his team that saw the fleet footed youngster net 11 goals for his club.
Champions Tusker FC head coach, Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo was declared the Coach of the Year while as expected, Ulinzi Stars winger Stephen Waruru arose to take home the Golden Boot Award.
Winners of the 13 categories under recognition took Sh100,000 each with the runner-ups and third place recipients contending with Sh75,000 and Sh50,000 each.
“I feel awesome; I have no words to express how I feel. The season has come to an end but it was a tough for me and my club and if something good comes my way, then I have to make a move,” Kimani who also bagged the Midfielder of the Year, Player of the Year and joint runners-up of the year, taking home a total Sh375,000 on the night.
A younger brother of star national women’s volleyball team setter, Janet Wanja, the winner who fielded for a club that finished 13th in the just concluded season before making the national team for the 2014 World Cup knock-out pre-qualifier and CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, was quick to hail his family.
“I dedicate this award to my mother and sister who have motivated and prayed for me. My sister inspired me and since we come from a humble family and she was down there but came up, there were some obstacles but she has encouraged me throughout the years,” Kimani said of her sister who featured during the recent FIVB Women’s World Cup.
Wanja who was present, returned the compliment stating, “I’m touched because I really didn’t know he is my role model because for me, when they ask me who mine is, I say he is my brother. He trains so hard and he deserves it.”
On receiving the Coach of the Year accolade, Omollo, who rose from the despair of relegation with Mahakama FC to the heights of the title with Tusker within a season, noted the hard work of staying at the top had begun.
“If we have good planning and our recruitment right, then we shall have a good season. We are playing continental and this requires technical players and if there is one, especially a striker, we will go for him.
“For me, I have no words. This is unbelievable, I have really worked hard with the players and the players have showed a lot of character. It’s important to say they had a hard season and I’m happy for them and for me, it is a great moment,” the former Harambee Stars captain added.
For Stephen Waruru, the Golden Boot citation went some way to erasing the disappointment of missing out on the defence of their crown to Tusker on the last day.
“To achieve this from midfield, the work is harder to get the goals since our work is to supply. This is a big motivation for me and it happened once and it can happen again but my wish is for my team to reclaim the title. We can make it if we work hard,” the Ulinzi flanker said.
KPL 2011 FOYA AWARDS WINNERS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1. Kelvin Kimani (Mathare United)
2. Charles Okwemba (AFC Leopards)
3. Stephen Waruru (Ulinzi)
DEFENDER OF THE YEAR:
1. Pascal Ochieng’ (Rangers)
2. Eric Masika (Gor Mahia)
3. Joseph Shikokoti (Tusker)
MIDFIELDER OF THE YEAR:
1. Kevin Kimani(Mathare United)
2. Charles Okwemba (AFC Leopards)
3. Humphrey Mieno (Sofapaka)
1.Boniface Oluoch (Tusker)
2.Jacktone Odhiambo (Ulinzi)
3.Lawrence Webo (Rangers)
FAIRPLAY PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1. Vincent Nyaberi (Thika)
2. David Juma (Western Stima)
3. Anthony Kimani (Mathare)
COACH OF THE YEAR
1. Sammy Omollo (Tusker)
2. Benjamin Nyangweso (Ulinzi)
3. Francis Kimanzi (Sofapaka)
TEAM MANAGER OF THE YEAR
1. Jack Gatheru (Karuturi Sports) CENTRE REFEREES OF THE YEAR
1. Nasur Doka
2. Silvestre Kirwa
ASSISTANT REFEREES OF THE YEAR:
1. Aden Marwa
2. Mike Mwangi
3. Jane Cherono