NAIROBI, November 11 – This year’s Most Valuable Footballer of the Year will pocket Sh1m (USD 9,783.240) in the annual black tie gala event scheduled for December 9 in Nairobi.
This was announced on Wednesday by organisers after Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK), league title sponsors SportPesa and electronics firm LG, partnered with KPL who have been organising the event since 2009.
“We are grateful to SJAK, Sportpesa and LG for helping revamp this awards gala. It really will help increase the level of competition in our league and the quality of what we get. The players will get better as a result and it will reflect in the national team as well,” KPL CEO, Jack Oguda declared when launching the red carpet event.
Other changes will see the Golden Boot and Best Goalkeeper winners receive Sh500, 000 (USD 4,886.34) each while the defender and midfielder of the year will walk away with Sh300, 000 (2,931.82) apiece.
Young Player of the Year, Fair Play and best improved referee awards have been doubled up to Sh200, 000 (USD1, 955.60).
The partnership that will see Sh.8.5m (USD 83,165.28) spent on cash prizes, is a huge improvement from the initial package where the Best Player of the Year was receiving Sh200, 000 (USD 1,954.54) while winners in other categories were getting Sh100, 000 (USD977.914) each.
Contrary from its tradition where KPL coaches were selecting the winners, a panel of SJAK football committee will decide on the best three but after receiving the nominees from the coaches and sports journalists.
This comes after last year’s event was heavily criticized by Stakeholders who questioned the selection criteria and formula used by the panelists in selecting the winners.
Sofapaka midfielder, Ekaliani Ndolo was crowned KPL’s finest after also bagging the Midfielder of the Year accolade ahead of the then Gor Mahia’s Geoffrey Kizito who left the club after guiding K’Ogalo to their second back-to-back title.
SportPesa Chief Marketer, Kester Muhanji said plans are underway to increase the Most Valuable Player’s amount to Sh2.5m (USD 24,460.00) next year.
“It’s the first step from us and we will work towards making it bigger in the coming seasons so that the players see the need to improve their performance. When they do that the quality of our game will match other top leagues within the region and in Europe as well,” Muhanji stated.
On top of the cash awards, winners in each of the 12 categories will walk home with a 43-inch smart TV from co-sponsors LG who have injected Sh1.5m (USD 14,676.05).
“We want the local game to improve and so we’ll do more for the players in partnership with SJAK. We have conducted player of the month awards this year and it is something we wish to improve on as well,” LG Marketing manager Moses Marji added.
The SJAK football committee have been conducting the Player of the Month Award since March, awarding eight best players so far.
The Awards better known as FOYA is held every year to honour and fete the best footballers in the country.
-Prizes break down
Most Valuable Player; winner Sh1million, runners-up Sh175, 000, third Sh75, 000
Golden Glove; Winner Sh500, 000, runners-up: Sh300, 000, third Sh200, 000
Golden Boot; Winner Sh500,000, runners-up Sh300,000, third Sh200,000
Best Defender; Winner Sh300,000, runners-up Sh200,000, third Sh100,000
Best Midfielder; Winner Sh300,000, runners-up Sh200,000, third Sh100,000
Best young player; Winner Sh200,000, runners-up Sh75,000, third Sh50,000
Best Fair-Play; Winner Sh200,000, runners-up Sh75,000, third Sh50,000
Best fair-play club; Winner Sh100,000, runners-up Sh75,000, third Sh50,000
Coach of the year; Winner Sh300,000, runners-up Sh175,000, third Sh50,000
Team manager of the year; Winner Sh100,000, runners-up Sh75,000, third Sh50,000
Most improved referee; Winner Sh200,000, runners-up Sh75,000, third Sh50,000
Most improved assistant referee; Winner Sh100,000, runners-up Sh75,000, third Sh50,000