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Gor, Bandari and Sofapaka dominate SJAK awards list

Last updated 10 months ago | By Robin Toskin

Bandari FC players celebrate their victory against Kariobangi Sharks FC during their 2019 FKF Shield at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on June 2. [Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com]

Kenyan Premier League’s top three teams in the 2018/19 season Gor Mahia, Bandari and Sofapaka dominate the nominees’ shortlist of Sports Journalists Association of Kenya football gala slated for Monday next week.

Champions Gor Mahia have six nominations including departed coach Hassan Oktay for the Coach of the Year accolade while second-place finishers Bandari and Sofapaka, who finished third have five nominations apiece.

SJAK have partnered with LG Electronics for the grand football gala.

The South Korean electronics giants have set aside products and Sh4 million for the awards in addition to Sh1.6 million for the organisation of the gala to be held at the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi.

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“There is a lot of potential in local sports and partnering with SJAK has been part of our CSR initiative aimed at rewarding sporting talent in Kenya,” said Maureen Kemunto of LG Electronics during the unveiling of the gala yesterday.

She added: “I would love to urge other corporates locally to come on board and promote the youth not only in football but in various sports in the country.

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SJAK Vice president James Magayi said: “The season was short and had many challenges but we are grateful to LG who came through to ensure the sweat and toil does not go unrecognised. The forthcoming awards will be a step up from 2017 when we only had products to give to finalists. With Sh4 million from LG and possibly some more from two potential sponsors we hope to keep the award prestigious and attractive to players.”

The list of nominees in each category will be whittled down from six to three finalists on Friday.

Nominees from Gor Mahia, who have enjoyed unrivalled success in the last seven seasons with only Tusker breaking their league triumph in 2016 are unsurprisingly the leading contenders. Harun Shakava, now at Nkana of Zambia and Joash Onyango, who is also listed among the league’s MVP nominees, headline the Defender of the Year category.

Francis Kahata, who has since departed for Simba SC of Tanzania has been nominated in the Midfielder of the Year and the league’s MVP categories.

Bandari have four players; Faruk Shikalo, Brian Otieno, Abdalla Hassan and Moses Mudavadi and their coach Bernard Mwalala in the coveted list.