NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – The national sevens team has been nominated for the Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) in the Men’s Team of the Year category ahead of the gala scheduled for Thursday night in Nairobi.
The team had a splendid season in 2016, winning their historic first ever Main Cup title at the IRB World Sevens Series Singapore leg.
Shujaa stunned Fiji 30-7 to lift the Cup in the final in a year that also saw them make the semi-finals in the Cape Town leg, quarter-finals in Hong Kong and also the last eight in the Sydney leg.
The team will battle it out with Kenyan Premier League (KPL) and GOtv Shield champions Tusker FC, National Super League winners Nzoia United, the national 15s team and men’s hockey club Butali Warriors.
Tusker, who wrestled the KPL title from Gor Mahia are among favourites to be named Team of the Year after reclaiming the title for the first time since 2012.
Apart from bagging the KPL crown, Tusker also won the GOtv Shield, something that they last did in 1993. This was also the first time that a team had won a double, with the last team having done that in 1978.
Another football team that will be hoping to bag the top award is Nzoia United who returned to the top flight league for the first time in over a decade.
The Western Kenya based side had a longest unbeaten run in the National Super League (NSL) on their way to gaining promotion to the KPL after going 32 games without losing a match.
Their feat comes at the back of playing in the Football Kenya Federation Division One league in 2013 where they finished third in Zone B to earn promotion NSL and now have secured a place among the big boys in the KPL.
The national 15s rugby team also known as the Simbas will be hoping to beat their counterparts, the sevens team to the award.
The Kenya Simbas scaled to its best ever placing in the World Rugby ranking following their comprehensive 34-10 victory over Hong Kong Dragons on August 27 at the RFUEA grounds.
The Jerome Paawater’s charges improved two places to reach a new high of 22nd.
The Simbas also rallied to edge out hosts Brazil 18-17 to win the ‘Cup of the Hemispheres’ duel in Amapa on June 17.
The team beat Uganda 48-10 in Kampala and 45-24 in Nairobi to reclaim Elgon Cup on July 30.
They beat Zimbabwe 61-15 and Uganda 45-24 but finished second in the Africa Cup Group 1A tournament after losing to Namibia 21-56.
Butali Warriors, who lost the Kenya Hockey Premier League title to Strathmore, rounds up the teams competing for the gong.