Gor Mahia forward Meddie Kagere says failure to be recognised for his efforts in 2015 was the fuel that drove him to achieve more in 2017, ultimately earning him the prestigious Most Valuable Player Award in Monday night’s gala.
That year, Kagere scored 13 goals after forming a formidable partnership with Michael Olunga who, bagged the top award after netting 19 times. It did not go down well with the Ugandan-born Rwandan striker who had hoped to win not just for his goals but also his assists.
From that moment, he swore to outdo himself this season and push hard to achieve what he couldn’t then and his crowing moment finally arrived on Monday when he was feted during the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya Awards Gala at the National Museum of Kenya.
“I have friends in the team who keep pushing me to make myself better. Playing away from home means that I have to be better than the local players since the club brought me in because they knew I am better than the locals and I have to live up to their expectation,” said Kagere, whose 13 goals and four assists helped Gor clinch a record extending 16th league title.
“Hard work pains but it pays and this award came through hard work,” added Kagere, who received a 55-inch LG TV set and a year-long medical cover from National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
Kagere beat Kariobangi Sharks’ Masoud Juma and team-mate George Odhiambo to the prestigious award taking over from last year’s winner Kenneth Muguna. Juma, however won the Golden Boot gong for his 17 goals while team-mate John Oyemba bagged the Goalkeeper of The Year Award after managing 16 clean sheets.
Gor Mahia captain Musa Mohammed was named the Defender of the Year, the midfielder gong going to team-mate Odhiambo while Zoo Kericho’s Nicholas Kipkirui was named the New Young Player. Sofapaka’s Ugandan tactician Sam Ssimbwa scooped the Coach of the Year Award.
The National Youth Fund has lined-up all finalists from the SJAK Award for business training after which funding for up to Sh300, 000 will be channeled while South Korean manufactures LG Electronics awarded all category winners with 49-inch TV sets.