Football Kenya Federation Premier League champions Tusker FC were the big winners in the league’s awards gala held on Tuesday night, scooping four category titles. The brewers won coach of the year, defender of the year, young player of the year and digital team of the year awards.
Meanwhile, Kariobangi Sharks forward Eric Kapaito was the toast of the evening, clinching two individual awards, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Golden Boot.
Kapaito became the first person in the history of the awards to clinch the MVP title twice, having also won the accolade in the 2017-2018 season.
This season, he was head and shoulders above everyone else, having netted 24 goals to clinch the golden boot and in the process landing the MVP award.
“I really feel delighted and honored to be on this stage to pick this award for a second time. I thank my teammates, coaches and the Sharks management for the support and I promise that I will continue working hard,” Kapaito stated.
The striker battled through injury last season and wasn’t on top of his form, but took up the challenge this term with a more improved performance, netting 24 times for his side with 10 assists to his name as well.
He walked home with a cool Sh1mn; Sh500,000 for each individual award.
To win the top award, Kapaito beat Sofapaka midfield maestro Lawrence Juma and former AFC Leopards striker Elvis Rupia, who has since moved to the United Arab Emirates.
Meanwhile, Tusker skipper Eugene Asike was named the defender of the year, having led a mean defense that conceded the second least number of goals in the league.
He played in 30 league matches, scoring two goals and helping the team through 10 clean sheets.
“It has been a tough season and I wouldn’t have made it without the support of my teammates and coaches. I am delighted to have won this and hopefully this is a motivation for the season to come,” Asike stated.
The defender beat Bidco United’s David Kalama while KCB’s Nashon Alembi was third.
At the same time, Tusker coach Robert Matano won the coach of the year gong, his second, having also won the same accolade in 2009 with Sofapaka.
“I am a Lion, not a hyena,” Matano, nicknamed The Lion said as he collected his award, much to laughter from the crowd. “I really feel privileged to be here to win this award for the second time. I want to thank my wife for being there to support me, critic me and tell me when I am wrong. I dedicate this to her,” Matano who was accompanied by his third wife Carol Walusaga said.
He fend off competition from KCB’s Zedekiah Otieno who was second after leading the bankers to their best ever league finish while Bidco United’s Anthony Akhulia was third.
The Golden Glove went to Ulinzi Stars custodian James Saruni who kept 12 clean sheets while the duo of KCB FC shot-stopper Joseph Okoth and Nairobi City Stars’ Steve Njunge shared the runners-up award fir keeping 11 clean sheets.
Meanwhile, Sofapaka’s Lawrence Juma bossed the midfield category pipping Anthony Kimani of Nairobi City Stars who was voted as the runners-up and third placed Jackson Macharia of Tusker FC.
Juma netted 14 times for Batoto ba Mungu in his debut season for them, having joined from Gor Mahia.
“I am really pleased to be getting this recognition. It has been a tough season especially as a team but I want to dedicate this to them. We will pick the lessons and look to be better this coming season,” an emotional Juma said as he received his award.
Elsewhere, The Young Player category was won by Tusker FC’s Henry Meja who had a Steller season, scoring 10 goals and seven assists. He floored Vihiga United’s Lawrence Luvanda and Sylvester Owino of Kakamega Homeboyz.
Meja is set to leave Tusker and head to Sweden, having signed a five-year deal with top tier side AIK.
The Fair Play team category was scooped by Kariobangi Sharks as Tusker FC and KCB FC took second and third placed respectively.
The brewers were named as the Digital team of the Year for their stellar work on their social media.
-2020/21 FKF Premier League Winners-
Erick Kapaito – Kariobangi Sharks
James Saruni – Ulinzi Stars – WINNER
Joseph Okoth – KCB FC -Runners-up
Steve Njunge – Nairobi City Stars – Runners-up
Defender of the Year
Eugene Asike – Tusker FC – WINNER
David Kalama – Bidco United – Runners-up
Nashon Alembi – KCB FC – Third
Midfielder of the Year
Lawrence Juma – Sofapaka FC – WINNER
Anthony Kimani – Nairobi City Star – Runners-up
Jackson Macharia – Tusker FC – Third
Team Manager of the Year
George Opondo – Tusker FC
Referee of the year
Assistant referee of the year