NAIROBI, May 13 – Gor Mahia midfielder Ali Abondo is fired up to celebrate a maiden Kenyan Premier League title with the champions after becoming the first ever recipient of the Sports Journalist Association of Kenya-Sports Pesa Player of the Month award.
Abondo was presented with the inaugural gong for March on Wednesday ahead of joint league top scorers; Jacob Keli of arch rivals AFC Leopards and Jesse Were of Tusker FC, to take home Sh50,000 (USD 518.1), a 42-inch Smart television set and a trophy engraved with his name.
A panel of seven sports journalists picked the winner from a shortlist of four selected by members of their association that also included Gor keeper, Boniface Oluoch.
Speaking moments after receiving the award at the team’s home ground, Nairobi’s City Stadium, Abondo said the accolade will inspire him to not only chase the Golden Boot but help his team emulate the class of 1988 who sealed a third national title in a row.
“It’s a great feeling because every player wants to win something in life. It didn’t come as a surprise since I have been working hard. I want to become the best footballer in the world.
“I want to work hard each day for better performances at the end of the year and help my team win the league for a third successive year because we want to make history too and that’s my dream,” the elated Abondo enthused.
Having left Gor for Tusker mid season in June 2013, Abondo missed the title party under Harambee Stars head coach Bobby Williamson before the champions repeated last season as his side finished third.
Abondo, nicknamed tear gas by the Gor faithful, has been instrumental since returning to the club at the beginning of the season extending his scoring streak to their short lived CAF Champions League campaign where they bowed out in the first round.
“Nuttall has been like a father figure to all of us; he gives everyone confidence and treats us equal and that even makes us work harder. I believe that’s why we are doing great at the moment.
“The last time I was at Gor, it was my first time (at the giant side) but coming back, I have gained experience and I knew my way around so, I had no option but to raise my game as well us improve on what I didn’t do well when I was here,” the midfielder who won the KPL Top 8 knock-out tournament with Tusker last season having lifted it with Gor a year earlier.
Even in training it’s very competitive, everyone is a professional and we are praying God we make history so that’s why we want to finish first leg well so that the second can be easier. I thank my teams-mates and the fans for making this happen,” he added.
In hailing his excellent contributions as an individual, Nutall attributed his prominence to all round teamwork by the champions who lead the log on 27 points after going unbeaten for 11 games thus far.
“Abondo has performed very well so far both in training and matches in the past two months and this award is recognition of his hard work and focus. But it’s also the effort of the team because he can’t play alone,” Nuttall elaborated.
The award for April will take place on Tuesday.