Rugby Rugby

Title winning Olago in SOYA coach of the year shortlist

KCB RFC head coach Curtis Olago in an interview during training at KCB Sports Ground in Ruaraka.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 14- Having guided Kenya Commercial Bank to three trophies within the past three months, head coach Curtis Olago’s efforts have not gone in vain as he has been nominated among the top five to vie for the coach of the year gong at the Annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) next month.

Olago’s KCB 15s team were completely dominant in the just concluded season winning both the Kenya and Enterprise Cups against arch rivals Kabras Sugar while they kicked off the new season with their fifth Impala floodlit title.

The 36-year-old will vie for the coveted crown alongside reigning coach of the year Jos Openda whose success with Telkom Orange Hockey Club saw him emerge top among his peers.

Also shortlisted for the annual award is Kenya Lionesses boss Kevin Wambua as well as Cricket’s Jimmy Kamande and Vihiga United head coach Edward Manoah.

Manoah made it into the final list after helping Vihiga United earn promotion to the Kenyan Premier League after topping a competitive National Super League, edging second placed Wazito by a point.

The other top man in the shortlist is Kenya Under-19 cricket’s Kamande under whose leadership the national team qualified to the 2018International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup.

He led the Kenyan juniors to victories against Ghana, Botswana and thecrucial seven wickets win over Uganda that saw them qualify forthe global Championship with a superior net run rate. Through his guidance Kenya’s dream to return to the age group World Cup became a reality after 16 years of waiting.

Telkom coach Openda is a familiar figure in the list having ensured the team maintains its top spot locally and internationally.

He led Orange to their ninth Africa title and is on the verge of capturing the 20th women’s league trophy as the other teams seems not close to beating Telkom.

He led the hockey queens to victory at Africa Club Championships held in Nairobi in January.

Kenya Lionesses coach Wambua is the second rugby coach to have been nominated for the award after KCB’s Olago, having guided the Lionesses to book a slot for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia.

He also steered the Lionesses to second place in Africa Cup Sevens after losing 17-12 to South Africa apart from leading them to the Main Cup Quarter-finals at the 2017-18 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series qualifier in Hong Kong after losing 26-7 to Italy- an improvement from last year’s qualifier where they lifted the Bowl in Ireland.

Coach of the year nominees:

Curtis Olago   (KCB Rugby)

Jos Openda    (Telkom, Hockey)

Jimmy Kamande   (Cricket)

Edward Manoah    (Football)

Kevin Wambua      (Lioness, Rugby)