NAIROBI, March 30 – Posta Rangers forward Timothy Otieno has been named the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya/SportPesa Player of the Month for February.
Otieno’s brilliant performances during the season opening month has seen him become the first beneficiary of Sh100, 000, after sponsor SportPesa doubled the cash prize beginning this year.
The Gor Mahia striker, who is on loan to Rangers, netted three goals in two matches to earn four points for the promoted side that finished fifth unbeaten in the month of February.
Otieno collected 26 points of the vote to beat off stiff competition from Muhoroni Youth striker Wycliffe Ochomo and AFC Leopards’ Andrew Tololwa, who tied second on 25 points apiece while Obadiah Ndege of Mathare United was third on 22 points.
On top of the cash prize, the 26-year-old received a 42-inch LG Smart TV and a trophy engraved with his name.
The former FC Talanta player, who joined Rangers this season, opened the month with a brace that inspired his side to beat Muhoroni Youth 2-0 but went on to miss the Gor match that they drew 1-1.
He returned to grab a point for Rangers against Western Stima in a match where he scored the opener before Wesley Kemboi restored parity in the 1-1 stalemate.
His splendid display attracted the attention of Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi, who handed him a call up, but ended up not featuring him in 2017 Africa Cup of Nations back-to-back qualifier against Guinea Bissau where Kenya lost 1-0 in both legs.
An elated Otieno vowed to press on with his improvement which have seen him rise from a national teenage tournament most valuable player in 2012 to earn his first call up in the national team this year.
“This award is testament to my improvement and I want to keep working hard to be the absolute best. It is an honour to be recognised for my efforts in the pitch. It will spur me further and encourage other players within the team to put strive for excellence.” he said
“I get enough play time at Posta so i know i have to justify my time on the pitch. My confidence has strengthened since joining this club and i hope to do better in the coming matches,” he added.
SJAK and Sportpesa used the occasion to announce the improved reward scheme which sees winning players pocket Sh10,0000 as his teammates share Sh50, 000.
Sportpesa chief marketer Kester Muhanji reaffirmed his company’s commitment to improve football standards in the country saying awarding deserving players is key to their growth and improvement.
“Step by step we want the football standards to improve in Kenya from the players to stadia so that we can reach our potential.” he said
Rangers under the tutelage of Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno will be looking to bounce back in the league when they host his former employer Sony Sugar at Ruaraka Grounds on Wednesday as the Premier League resumes from a two-week international break.
Every month, throughout the Kenyan Premier League, the panel of judges that comprises football writers vote for the most outstanding player based on the number of matches one has featured that month.
Mathare United tactician Francis Kimanzi won the inaugural Fidelity Insurance Coach of the month award for February.