NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – Sofapaka defender Noah Abich has been declared the SportPesa/Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) Player of the Month for October.
The 29-year-old veteran full-back had a stunning month for struggling Sofapaka with one goal and three assists in three games to revive Batoto Ba Mungu’s chances of survival in the Kenyan Premier League.
Abich fended off competition from Tusker FC duo of goal keeper David Okello and midfielder Hashim Sempala as well as Gor Mahia’s Enock Agwanda to win Sh100,000 and a 43-inch LG smart television while the team received Sh50,000.
After losing their first game in October, going down 1-0 away to Sony Sugar, Abich was instrumental in Sofapaka’s second match where he guided the side to a 2-1 win over Muhoroni Youth.
In that match, Abich scored the equalizer before creating an assist for George Maelo who netted the winner.
The former Tusker FC player who joined Sofapaka in mid-season produced a man of the match performance in their last game that month, where he provided all the assists in their 3-2 victory over AFC Leopards.
Abich received 19 points, Sempala managed to get 12 while Agwanda got 11 after a seven-member panel of judges from the SJAK Football Commission voted.
The award will boost Sofapaka’s survival as they make one final push to stay afloat in Saturday’s season ender against Thika United and Abich is optimistic the 2009 champions will not be relegated.
“I’m so happy to be recognised but there is no time to celebrate as we are all anxiously looking forward to the weekend fixtures. Our fate is hanging and I hope this award galvanizes the squad to do well and hopefully get a good result in the determining game,” Abich, who is a dead-ball specialist, said at the club’s training base in Eastleigh High School.
“I’ve not had an impressive year, having to sit out the first leg then joining a club deep in relegation but together we have united for a common cause which is to stay up and through the tribulations we have faced as a club we retain hope of playing in top flight next year,” he added.
Nine players had been nominated for the monthly award including Tusker’s Allan Wanga, Jared Obwoge of Chemelil Sugar, Sofapaka custodian Mathias Kigonya and Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma of Gor Mahia.
Closer scrutiny however, knocked out six players leaving Abich, Sempala and Agwanda to duel in the final round.