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Lionesses’ Mwanja named November’s coach of the month

Dennis Mwanja celebrates with his trophy
  • He is the first recipient of the newly launched award
  • It is sponsored by Chinese Pay TV company StarTimes
  • He won Sh100,000

Kenya Lionesses tactician Dennis Mwanja is the first recipient of the newly launched StarTimes/Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) coach of the month award. The tactician was named November’s best after his run with the Kenya Lionesses at the Rugby Africa Group B qualifiers in Kampala, Uganda.

Mwanja led the Kenyan girls to victory with wins over hosts Uganda and Zambia.

“I am extremely humbled to win the inaugural award of the coach of the month edition. For so many years fellow tacticians have been trading their skills with no recognition but it is quite a pleasant surprise to be honoured with this award,” Mwanja said after receiving the award.

He added; “We have worked so hard with the girls over so many months. I took over the job and was thrown straight into the deep end with a tournament in Tunisia, but we maintained the work we were doing. It is such a huge boost to see that the work we put in is recognized.”

Mwanja’s girls beat Zambia 36-17 before seeing off Uganda 23-3 to progress to the second round of the Rugby Africa tournament. Mwanja was appointed on interim basis with his job also advertised while he was on it.

Also doubles up as KCB’s assistant coach

Kenya Lionesses head coach Dennis Mwanja is awarded by StarTimes PR Manager Alex Mwaura

He was however later confirmed and also doubles up as the KCB Sevens head coach and their 15s assistant coach.

To win the November award as voted by the SJAK committee, Mwanja beat off competition from his senior at KCB Curtis Olago, Strathmore Hockey coach Meshack Senge, Cricket Kenya’s David Obuya and Paul Gitau of the Kenya Pipeline women’s volleyball team.

He walked home with a cash award of Sh100,000, a personalized trophy and a 55-inch Smart TV from sponsors StarTimes.

StarTimes Media Kenya Chief Executive Officer Hanson Wang welcomed the commencement of the new Monthly Award which targets to create the much-needed competitive sporting environment that will motivate team tacticians to raise the bar for quality coaching.

New dawn for coaches in Kenya

Kenya Lionesses head coach Dennis Mwanja with his players

“This marks the beginning of new dawn for Kenyan coaches. Previously we had partnered with SJAK to award sports personalities. Upon our contract renewal we made the decision to take it a notch higher by recognizing the coaches who work tirelessly in molding Kenyan athletes into excellent competitors,” the StarTimes boss said.

On his part, Chris Mbaisi, President of the Sports Journalists association of Kenya also lauded the new partnership citing that it is a positive move taken to contribute to the development of sports in the country.

The win for Lionesses in Kampala, saw the Kenyan girls qualify for the Africa Cup Group A competition to be held in 2023 where they face powerhouses, South Africa, Namibia and Cameroon. This competition will also serve as a qualifier for the inaugural World Women 15s in 2023.

“We will prepare well for the tournament because we know we are facing tougher teams. We are planning to see whether we can have some training camps outside the country but all that will be dependent on the availability of funds,” the coach stated.

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