NAIROBI, November 18 – Kenyan Premier League champions, Gor Mahia dominated the shortlist of the December 9 SportPesa/Sports Journalists of Kenya (SJAK)/KPL Player of the Year Awards with nine players.
The panel of judges on Wednesday released eight players in all the 12 categories who made the cut with the number set to be trimmed to the final five a week before the gala night scheduled to be hosted in Nairobi.
The Gloves of the Year nominees will see Gor’s Boniface Oluoch battle it out with Sofapaka’s David Okello, Western Stima’s Gabriel Andika and Muhori Youth’s Faruk Shikalo among others.
K’Ogalo bitter rivals AFC Leopards have three players in the list plus their former tactician Croatian Zdravko Logarusic who abandoned the Den with three matches to wrap the season.
Gor Mahia and Harambee Stars lethal forward, Michael Olunga will be up against team-mates, Meddie Kagere and right-back Karim Nizigiyimana as well as Tusker FC and Golden Boot winner, Jesse Were for the Most Valuable Player gong.
K’Ogalo’s right-back Nizigiyimana will battle it out with fellow team-mates center halves, Musa Mohammed and Harun Shakava as well as Leopards Edwin Wafula and Tusker’s Eugine Asike for the Best defender Award in a cut throat competition that settled on ten nominees unlike other categories.
Midfielder of the Year has Gor’s pair of Khalid Aucho and Collins Okoth with Ingwe’s Bernard Mang’oli, Muhoroni’s George Mandela and David King’atua of Bandari also making the cut.
Gambian forward, Ebrima Sanneh, Eston Asiye (Western Stima) and Alfred Ndonye (Mathare United) are among those who were shortlisted for the new Young Player of the Year Award.
Scotsman Frank Nuttall of Gor leads the Coaches of the Year nominees alongside; Robert Matano (Ulinzi Stars), Twahir Muhiddin (Bandari) Paul Nkata (Muhoroni Youth) and Ken Kenyatta (Ushuru).
The eight were whittled down from a wider list of 34 players nominated by 15 SPL coaches and sports journalists.
However, Runners-up and third finisher MVP category have been abolished to make the category more competitive.
The Most Valuable player will receive Sh1m, a trophy engraved with his name and a 43-inch Smart TV from co-sponsors electronic company, LG.
Goalkeeper of the year: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Jairus Adira (Chemelil Sugar), James Saruni (Ulinzi Stars), Farouk Shikalo (Muhoroni Youth), Wilson Obungu ( Bandari), Allan Owiny ( Sony Suagar), Gabriel Andika (Western Stima), David Okelo (Sofapaka).
Defenders: Karim Nzigiyimama, Musa Mohamed, Haroun Shakava (Gor Mahia), Eugene Asike (Tusker), Edwin Wafula (AFC Leopards), Noah Abich (Matahre United), Collins Shivachi (Sofapaka), Mohamed Sharif (Bandari), Geoffrey Kokoyo (Ulinzi Stars) Kapilima Kanamuli (Ushuru FC).
Midfielders: Bernard Mang’oli (AFC Leopards), Khalid Aucho, Collins Okoth (Gor Mahia), Eric Johanna (Mathare United), David King’atua, Anthony Kimani (Bandarti), George Mandela (Muhoroni Youth), Kevin Amwayi (Ulinzi Stars).
New Young Player: Ebrimah Sanneh (City Stars) Eston Esiye (Western Stima), George Mandela (Muhoroni Youth), Alphonce Ndonye (Mathare United), Farid Mohamed (Bandari), Paul Michika ( Muhoroni Youth), Louis Masika, Samuel Wailer (City Stars).
Fair Play player of the year: John Baraza (Sofapaka), Vincent Nyaberi (Thika United), Michael Olunga (Gor Mahia), Shaban Kenga (Bandari), Alfred Onyango (Sony Sugar), Humphrey Mieno (Tusker), Gabriel Andika (Western Stima).
Coach of the year: Frank Nuttall (Gor Mahia), Robert Matano (Ulinzi Stars), Twahir Muhidin (Bandari), Paul Nkata (Muhoroni Youth), Ken Kenyatta (Ushuru), Zdravko Logarusic (AFC Leopards), Stanley Okumbi (Mathare United), Henry Omino (Western Stima).
Most Valuable Player: Michael Olunga, Meddie Kagere, Karim Nzigiyimana (Gor Mahia), Jesse Were (Tusker, FC), David Kingatua (Bandari), Bernard Man’goli (AFC Leopards), John Makwata (Ulinzi Stars), Ebrima Sanneh (City Stars).
New Centre referee of the year: Michael Iluve, Judith Muhonja, Raymond Onyango, Juma Turke, Duncan Mudaki.
New Assistant referee of the year: Stephen Adeya, Eric Sadera, Richard Keya, Judy Wamoro, Michael Maru, Gabriel Abidha, Beth Wambui, George Mwangi.
Team manager of the year: William Muluya (Mathare United), Jolawi Obondo (Gor Mahia), Nevile Pudo (City Stars), David Mwangi (Ulinzi Stars), Moses Jobita (Western Stima), Stock Ouma (Sony Sugar).
Fair Play team of the year: Gor Mahia, Western Stima, Bandari, Mathare United, Sony Sugar, AFC Leopards, Ushuru, Tusker.