NAIROBI, November 19- Sofapaka midfielder, Anthony Ekaliani Ndolo was the biggest winner of the night after clinching the double by being crowned the Kenyan Premier League 2014 Footballer of the Year (Foya) in a glittering gala award ceremony in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Ndolo edged out Uganda Cranes and Gor Mahia midfield general, Geoffrey Kizito and veteran Ulinzi Stars winger Stephen Waruru who came second and third in the race for the top accolade on the back of a storming season for the league runner-ups who clinched the domestic cup GOtv Shield last weekend.
Earlier, Ndolo was named the Midfielder of the Year, again beating Kizito who was away on international duty with Uganda who failed to qualify for the 2015 Afcon finals by losing 2-0 to Guinea in Morocco with Tusker FC’s Brian Osumba the second runners-up.
An elated Ndolo, the former Uganda’s SC Villa player, termed the two awards as a surprise since it was his debut season in the KPL.
“Competition was tough because all nominated are good midfielders but I believe the panel of selectors saw something extra in me and that’s how I beat them.
“Hard work indeed pays and I dedicate the Midfielder of the Year award to my late mum who passed on when I was only four years and since then I’ve really struggled but I dedicate to myself the Player of the Year,” the soft-spoken midfielder who broke into tears when receiving the awards told.
The stunning outcome of the fete was Gor inspirational captain and leader Jerim Onyango, otherwise known as King Jerry by his adoring fans failure to capture the Goalkeeper of the Year gong with the prize going to Chemelil Sugar’s Jairus Adira despite leading the record 14-time winners to their second successive title.
“I’m content with it and that’s a challenge for me to work hard next season. I was looking forward for Gor to win all the top awards because we won the league but that didn’t go our way.
“I congratulate Ndolo he has been outstanding throughout the season,” the visibly disappointed K’Ogalo custodian who was a favourite to win told Capital Sport after also losing out on the Player of the Year.
Mathare United’s revelation Robert Mboya was second runner-up in the glove-man’s category.
– Calabar repeats-
Harambee Stars and champions Gor back line stalwart David ‘Calabar’ Owino who missed the event repeated as the Defender of the Year for the second successive season ahead of Sony Sugar’s Charles Odette and Sofapaka’s Felly Mulumba.
“This is what God had planned for me so I’m happy though I wanted to win it since last year I was also third but it’s an honour since we have many defenders in Kenya and I managed a podium finish,” Mulumba stated.
K’Ogalo talisman Dan Sserunkuma who was also on international duty won the Golden Boot after netting 16 goals with Sofapaka’s top scorer Enock Agwanda and Ulinzi’s Stephen Waruru came in second on 11 goals apiece while Thika United youngster Michael Olunga and Brewer’s Jesse Were tired third on nine.
Chemelil FC boss and former Harambee Stars international, Mike Mururi who failed to make the event due to illness, was declared the Coach of the Year ahead of Ugandan Sam Timbe who guided Sofapka to the GOtv Shield and league runner-up while Ulinzi’s Robert Matano who led the Soldiers to a fourth finish coming third.
“I’m happy and I will make sure I work harder to win the coach of the year next year. I can’t judge myself and I give them respect,” Timbe declared in regards to perhaps the second controversial announcement of the Foya gala.
The Team Manager of the year went to Mathare United’s William Muluya as Sofapaka’s Amenipa Bigisho was voted second while long serving Thika United’s George Maina was third.
Relegated Top Fry Nakuru All Stars’ Kennedy Owino was declared the New Young Player while Nairobi City Stars duo of Kevin Omondi and Nicholas Kamau followed in that order.
Chemelil forward Hamisi Mwinyi scooped the Fair-play gong with veteran defender John Njoroge from Sofapaka and Ushuru FC’s skipper Barrack Odhiambo completing the list.
Muhoroni Youth who made it to next year’s KPL Top 8 tournament for the first time were named the Best Fair-Play Club ahead of champions Gor and All Stars.
Mathematics PHD holder Peter Waweru beat Anthony Ogwayo and Moses Osano to be declared the Most Improved Center Referee while Stephen Oduor won the Assistant Referee’s category to lead Dorcas Wanza and Oljra Odhiambo to the rostrum.
The winners were selected by a panel of all 16 KPL coaches except in the Team Manager, coach and referees awards that were picked by the match commissioners.