KISUMU, Kenya, Jan 29 – For the first time since the awards inception, a schoolboy has clinched the LG/SJAK Player of the Month award after seventeen-year-old striker Benson Omala was belatedly crowned December finest to become the youngest player to achieve the feat.
Omala, who turns up for Kenyan Premier League side Western Stima, is a form four student at Kisumu Day High School and managed to net five goals to compel SJAK Football Commission to a unanimous decision of granting him the award that came along with a 49-inch smart television screen from title sponsors, electronic firm LG.
Among the many firsts he pulled in December, Omala become the first Western Stima player to ever score a hat-trick in a league match.
He netted thrice against Zoo FC in a 4-1 win, then scored as Western Stima beat Chemelil 3-1 and wrapped up with a goal as the Kisumu based team edged out Nzoia 1-0.
In winning the Player of the Month award, he became just the third player from Western Stima to do so in the award’s six year-history, following the footsteps of Kenneth Muguna in 2015 and Wesley Kemboi in 2016.
“I thank my coach for believing and nurturing me and I am glad I repaid their faith by showing my brilliance and scoring goals which is a striker’s primary target,” the confident KCSE candidate said after receiving the award in the presence of his schoolmates at their school.
“I’d like to score more goals if a I get game time and be among the top scorers. My ambitions are to play for the national team. I already scored two goals for the Under 20 national team in CECAFA and I’m glad I was called up in the senior team despite not making the final cut. I want to tell Kimanzi that he will see more of me,” Omala remarked.
He added; “If you are in class read like you will never play football and if you are in a football pitch play like you’ll never be in class. My target short term is to play two or three year in the local league then go to Europe,” he added
His coach Andrew Aroka lauded Western Stima for believing in Omala and giving him the chance to play in the big league.
“I’ve handled a lot of you players but very few compare to this boy. They have been good in their own right but Omala is just a complete striker with very huge potential.”
Omala was in the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom All Star team that went to Spain last year after emerging top scorer in the Nyanza regional duels.
He hopes to get more play time with Western Stima but school schedule has come before football for him.
Kisumu Day High School Principal Daniel Mwaturo urged him not to sacrifice either academics or football career at the altar of another.
“Talent and good brains are God given and each of them should be nurtured. The boy only trains with the school team and only plays Western Stima’s home games except during holidays. He can really do wonders when fully dedicated to training with the team and playing all games. But I’m glad he is also doing well in academics and could get the myriad scholarships abroad,” said the Principal.