Gor Mahia midfielder George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo capped his gradual career resurgence by clinching the SportPesa Player of the Month Award for August.
The 24-year-old who lost his rythm in Denmark after prematurely going professional in 2011 also caught national team selectors’ eyes and earned a well-deserved call-up, ending a five-year hiatus from Harambee Stars.
Blackberry displays for K’Ogalo in that month saw Kenya’s most-decorated club trounce Nakumatt, Muhoroni Youth twice, Posta Rangers and came from behind to earn a crucial point against fierce rivals AFC Leopards.
He crucially scored in two matches and provided three assists in the rest of the games hence putting himself in contention for the month’s gong. Gor created a clear path to the title in August with Blackberry combining with imports Tuyisenge and Meddie Kagere to take centre stage.
Having garnered 18 votes, he edged team-mate Jacques Tuyisenge by a single vote in a winner-takes-it-all affair while the third contestant Umaru Kasumba of Sofapaka collected 13 votes.
The three players made it to the final shortlist from a wider nominee’s list that also had Sony Sugar’s Amos Asembeka, Yemi Mwana, Chispinus Oduor and Godfrey Walusimbi.
The gong, which is co-sponsored by betting firm SportPesa and South Korean manufactures LG Electronics, yields a 49-inch LG television and Sh100,000 to feted players as well as Sh50,000 for the rest of the squad. Blackberry became K’Ogalo’s second player to win it in 2017 following previous triumph by midfielder Ernest Wendo.
Blackberry is the fifth recipient of the gong this year after Nzoia Sugar’s Brian Otieno (March), Stephen Waruru of Ulinzi Stars (April), Ernest Wendo of Gor (May) and Zoo FC’s Michael Madoya (June/July).
“I am glad to be back to my best. People who don’t really know everything that happened to me had said a lot but, i decided to be patient and work my way back.