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Gor, Sofapaka, Tusker lead FOYA nods

AGWANDA-WAHOMENAIROBI, November 13- Top three finishers Gor Mahia, Sofapaka and Tusker lead the Kenyan Premier League Footballer of the Year Awards (FOYA) nominations list released Thursday with six apiece.

Ugandan Geoffrey Kizito (Gor Mahia) and Anthony Ndolo (Sofapaka) are in the running for two awards, the big FOYA as well as the Midfielder of the Year gongs after outstanding campaigns in the middle of the pack for the top two.

Top scorer, Dan Sserunkuma who will pick up the Golden Boot for the first time, is the surprise exclusion from the FOYA nominee list of five despite banging in 16 goals that led Gor to their record 14th title.

His contribution to the course was immense since the next top scorers for the repeat champions, Rama Salim (who has since left) and Kizito bagged only four goals each.

Ulinzi Stars veteran winger, Stephen Waruru and Sofapaka leading scorer, Enock Agwanda round up the list for the top prize.

Kizito and Ndolo will battle it out with Humphrey Mieno (Sofapaka), revelation Geoffrey Kataka (KRA) who broke into the national team in his debut top flight season and Tusker’s Brian Osumba who won it last year for the midfielders’ crown.

Gor’s David Owino who took the honours in 2013 once again makes the Defender of the Year shortlist alongside teammate Haron Shakava, Felly Mulumba (Sofapaka), Charles Odette (Sony Sugar) and Jackson Saleh, the solid rock in an otherwise leaking AFC Leopards defence.

Saleh further distinguished himself in a dispiriting season for last year’s runner-ups who slumped to sixth by scoring three KPL goals.

K’Ogalo captain Jerim Onyango is also in line for a repeat victory in the Goalkeeper of the Year category after leading his side to retain the crown with Tusker’s Samuel Odhiambo, Mathare United’s Robert Mboya, Chemelil Sugar’s Jairus Adira and shock inclusion Lucas Indeche (Sony Sugar) who had a nightmare season with Thika United last term offering the competition.

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Faruk Shikhalo (Tusker), Kennedy Owino (Nakuru All Stars), Nicholas Kamau (City Stars), Kevin Omondi (City Stars) and Andrew Anton (Sony Sugar) will vie for the New Young Player of the Year.

Despite incidents with their fans that led to a stadium ban that was later lifted, Gor Mahia and Leopards feature in the Best Fairplay Club of the Year shortlist besides relegated All Stars, City Stars as well as Muhoroni Youth who are provisionally in the top-eight pending final outcome of the disputed Sony versus Ingwe clash.

Veteran Leopards lynchpin, Charles Okwemba will vie for the Fairplay Players of the Year Award with Hamisi Mwinyi (Chemelil Sugar), Barrack Odhiambo (KRA), Maurice Odhiambo (All Stars) and John Njoroge (Sofapaka).

Outright winners in the Top Goal Scorer of the Year are Sserunkuma, Agwanda and Waruru who tied at 11 in second as well as Thika United’s Michael Olunga and Tusker’s Jesse Were who netted nine times each for third.

Ugandan Sam Timbe who brought Sofapaka to within a whiff of reclaiming the title they won on their debut season in 2009 will battle it out with former Harambee Stars boss, Francis Kimanzi (Tusker), Robert Matano (Ulinzi), Francis Baraza (Muhoroni Youth) and Mike Muiruri (Chemelil Sugar) for the Coach of the Year gong.

Josphat Okal (KCB), Amenipa Bigisho (Sofapaka), William Muluhya (Mathare United), George Maina (Thika United) and Rajab Said (Chemelil Sugar) are in contention for the Team Manager of the Year.

The nominees are selected by a panel of coaches and select journalists where each winner takes home Sh100,000 (USD1,108) with runner-ups and third placed awardees take home Sh75,000 (USD831) and Sh50,000 (USD554).

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