The Kenyan Premier League awards held on Thursday night have witnessed widespread criticism after organisers sidelined Gor Mahia players from all categories in spite K’Ogalo’s trailblazing run that saw them win the league with six games to spare.
KPL placed an appearance threshold of 24 games out of the 34 played in the calendar for one to be nominated hence locking out some of the most outstanding players in the just-concluded league season.
Gor heavily rotated their squad to achieve optimum performance in the five competitions they took part in. Most of their stars could have made the cut but a player go slow at the end of the season saw the likes of Francis Kahata, Philemon Otieno and Jacques Tuyisenge fail to land nominations.
Instead, Kariobangi Sharks youngster Eric Kapaito ran off with the top prize after emerging late to top the scorers’ chart. Kapaito bagged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) gong ahead of Tuyisenge and Elvis Rupia who netted 15, one less than the Sharks hit man.
“I am happy to land this gong although it comes a surprise. I’m thankful for everyone who voted me and I just want to challenge myself and live up to the high placing standards I have set. My aim is to improve with every season and hopefully I will replicate and even surpass my performance for my club,” Kapaito said.
He was also voted the new player of the year while another youngster Cliff Nyakeya of Mathare United bagged the Midfielder Of the Year Award ahead of last season’s MVP Mike Madoya of Zoo and Elvis Nandwa of Ulinzi Stars. AFC Leopards talismanic midfielder Whyvvone Isuza failed to make the top three.
“I nearly quit football when things were not working for me. I considered going to college to study some course but I met Chris Omondi who took me in to his house as I played for Gor Mahia youth. I learnt through that and made the move to Mathare where I have been privileged to win this gong,” said Nyakeya.
Congolese, who is willing to swap nationality and turn out for Kenya, Felly Mulumba of Bandari bagged the Defender of The Year gong with Posta Rangers’ Titus Achesa and Oliver Ruto of Ulinzi Stars coming second and third respectively. Gor duo Harun Shakava and Joash Onyango were nominated but failed to make the podium.
Other than Tuyisenge, Dylan Kerr is the only individual award winner from K’Ogalo as the Englishman won the Coach of The Year Award.
Danstan Nyaudo of Ulinzi Stars and John Baraza of Sofapaka were second and third as Robert Matano conspicuously missed the podium despite lifting Tusker from the relegation zone to third place.
Gor chairman Ambrose Rachier alluded to widespread corruption and underhand dealings in the awarding of players, saying such things will kill the awards.