NAIROBI, January 13 – Former Cameroon striker Patrick M’Boma will grace the 12th Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) where outstanding top athletes will be feted in the black tie gala night event on Friday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
M’Boma, the 2000 African Player of the Year is expected to arrive on Thursday evening from Paris, France courtesy of national career, Kenya Airways who will cater for his flight return ticket as part of their sponsorship for the Awards.
SOYA founder and International Olympics Committee member, Paul Tergat said the decision to bring M’Boma as the guest of honour was arrived at by the panel of judges who hope the two-time African Cup of Nations winner will inspire Kenyan sportsmen.
“M’Boma is a good friend of mine and one of the biggest footballers in our continent. We trust that his presence here will be a motivation to other sportsmen to work hard and achieve what he has achieved.
“It has been our tradition every year to bring one of the finest sportsmen in the continent to have a taste of the talent we have in Kenya,” Tergat, the former world marathon record holder, announced.
The Indomitable Lions legend led Cameroon to the summer Olympics gold medal in 2000 in Sydney Australia as well as Cup of Nations victory in 2000 and 2002.
M’Boma, a former PSG forward (1994-95 and 1996-97) featured in the 1998 and 2000 World Cups and is always remembered by his stunning overhead kick goal against France in 1998.
The public voting closed on Tuesday night and the judges have a completed list of winners in all 20 categories.
Footballer of the Year and Gor Mahia striker Michael Olunga will face world beaters, javelin star, Julius Yego, track champions Asbel Kiprop and Geoffrey Kamworor and hockey star, Linus Sang for the best male sportsman of the year gong.
The corresponding Sportswoman category features Nune Bonaya (shooting), Mercy Moim (volleyball), Naomi Wafula (golf) and famed champion distance runners; Gladys Cherono and Florence Kiplagat underlining the diversity on show for 2015.
Former KCB forward Paul Mungai Kiongera has been nominated for the comeback of the year award alongside rugby player Lawrence Buyachi from Nakuru RFC.
Domestic club football champions, Gor Mahia who held on to their crown unbeaten last year will vie against Simba 15s national rugby, KCB rugby, national hockey team and Harambee Stars in the men’s Team of the Year category.
Volleyball dominates the women’s nominations with the Malkia Strikers teams for the African and World Grand Prix competing with the squad largely consisting Under 23 players that won the 2015 All Africa Games.
The awards received another shot in the arm with the Communications Authority of Kenya handing in a Sh1m sponsorship boost.