NAIROBI, December 4 – The final five nominees for the 2015 Footballer of the Year Awards were released on Monday with unbeaten champions Gor Mahia striker, Michael Olunga and Golden Boot winner, Jesse Were of Tusker FC among those in contention for the desired Most Valuable Player (MVP) Sh1m prize.
The initial shortlist of eight nominees in each of the 11 categories was trimmed to five before the panel of selectors vote for the top three winners to be announced on December 9 at the black tie gala ceremony in Nairobi.
“We are set for the gala that will be held on Wednesday. This year it will be different ti see the people who deserve to be feted are considered. We have seven fair play teams because two have tied so that shows how competitive it is.
“For the fair play player categories we were considering those who had least cards. The TM was settled on how each one conducted himself and his team in and outside the field,” KPL Logistics and Chief Operations Manager, Frank Okoth, said.
He clarified the New Referee Category was reached upon after considering only those who were officiating for the first time in the SPL.
Other contenders in run for the MVP accolade are AFC Leopards midfielder Bernard Mang’oli, Nairobi City Stars forward Ebrima Sanneh and Gor’s right-back, Burundian Karim Nizigiyimana.
K’Ogalo shot stopper, Boniface Oluoch has been shortlisted for the Golden Gloves gong, giving him a chance to win the award for a record third time after bagging it in 2011 and 12 when Tusker FC won the back to back Kenyan Premier League title.
The Harambee Stars custodian who has kept 19 clean sheets will be in contention for Sh500, 000 with Ulinzi Stars’ James Saruni (eight), Faruk Shikhalo from Muhoroni Youth (nine clean sheets), Chemelil Sugar’s Jairus Adira (nine) and Bandari’s Wilson Obungu (eight).
The chase for the best defender that had attracted a record original 10 nominees, will see Ulinzi Stars’ Geoffrey Kokoyo who won it in 2010 battle it out with Gor duo of center half Musa Mohamed and Nizigiyimana as well as Bandari’s Sharrif Mohammed and Mathare United right back; Noah Abich for Sh300,000 top prize.
Mang’oli leads the Midfielder of the year charge alongside Bandari pair of 2010 winner Anthony Kimani and David King’atua, Mathare United’s youngster Eric Johanna and Gor’s Khalid Aucho.
Young new player that is reserved for players under the age of 23 making debuts in the SportPesa Premier League has Muhoroni Youth forward, George Mandela, Western Stima midfielder Eston Esiye, industrious Mathare United midfielder, Alphonse Ndonye, Gambian striker, Sanneh and defender Luis Masika both of City Stars.
Gor tactician Frank Nuttal will be up against Ulinzi Stars head coach Robert Matano, soft spoken Bandari FC coach Twahir Muhudin, Muhoroni’s Paul Nkata and Ken Kenyatta of Ushuru FC.
FULL NOMINEE LIST
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Bernard Mang’oli (AFC leopards), Jesse Were (Tusker FC), Ebrima Sanneh (Nairobi City Stars), Karim Niizigiyimana, Michael Olunga (Gor Mahia)
GOAL KEEPER OF THE YEAR: James Saruni (Ulinzi Stars), Jairus Adira (Sony Sugar), Wilson Oburu (Bandari), Faruk Shikalo (Muhoroni Youth), Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia)
DEFENDER OF THE YEAR: Geoffrey Kokoyo (Ulinzi Stars), Mohammed Shariff (Bandari), Noah Abich (Mathare United), Karim Niizigiyimana, Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia)
MIDFIELDER OF THE YEAR: Anthony Kimani, David King’atua (Bandari), Bernard Mang’oli (AFC Leopards), Khalid Aucho (Gor Mahia), Eric Johanna (Mathare United)
NEW YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR: George Mandela (Muhoroni Youth), Eston Esiye (Western Stima), Ebrima Sanneh, Luis Masika (Nairobi City Stars), Alphonse Ndonye (Mathare United)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Robert Matano (Ulinzi stars), Paul Nkata (Muhoroni Youth), Frank Nuttall (Gor Mahia), Twahir Muhiddin (Bandari), Ken Kenyatta (Ushuru FC)
FAIR PLAY PLAYER: Vincent Nyaberi (Thika United), John Baraza (Sofapaka), Shaban Kenga (Bandari), Alfred Onyango (Sony Sugar), Gabriel Andika (Western Stima). NEW CENTRE REFEREE. Michael Iluve, Judith Muhonja, Raymond Onyango, Turke Juma, Duncan Mudaki.
NEW ASSISTANT REFEREE: Stephen Adeya, Eric Sadera, Judy Wamaro, Beth Wambui, George Mwangi.
TEAM MANAGER OF YEAR: William Muluya (Math are United), Jolawi Abondo (Gor Mahia), Nevile Pudo(City Stars), David Mwangi (Ulinzi Stars), Moses Nyalik (Western Stima).
FAIR PLAY TEAM OF THE YEAR: Tusker FC, AFC Leopards, Sony Sugar, Gor Mahia, Mathare United, Western Stima, Bandari