SOYAS 2018: Gor Headline Team Of The Year Nominee List

Jan 03 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

The 2015 winners K'Ogalo to battle Harambee Stars, Davis Cup, Kanbis Cricket and Kenya Deaf for coveted prize at January 11 gala

Gor Mahia FC celebrate lifting the 2018 SportPesa Cup on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/File

  • Gor lifted the 2015 Team of the Year crown following a season where they went the entire domestic top flight campaign unbeaten under Scottish boss, Frank Nutall besides returning to the Cecafa Kagame finals for the first time in almost two decades
  • Stars played eight matches in 2018, winning five, drawing one and losing twice. Apart from AFCON qualifiers, they won 2-1 against New Zealand, 4-1 against Chinese Taipei, Malawi 1-0 in friendly matches while losing 3-0 and 2-0 to India
  • Making the final list is the Kenya team that participated in 2nd World Deaf Handball championship In Caxias Do sul Brazil in July where they finished fifth out of eight overall to top the African standings

NAIROBI, Kenya- After a phenomenal year where they extended their domestic league championship-winning record to 17, SportPesa Premier League (SPL) holders Gor Mahia FC lead the nomination list for the Men’s Team of the Year at the 2018 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYAS).

The 2015 SOYAS Team of the Year K’Ogalo will battle for the accolade against fellow football side and national outfit Harambee Stars, Davis Cup Tennis team, Kanbis Cricket Sports Club and the Kenya Deaf Handball squad for the coveted accolade at the January 11 gala in Mombasa.

Gor retained the SPL title with six matches to spare on August 25 as well as making history by becoming the first Kenyan club to reach the CAF Confederation Cup group stages where they were a point away from qualifying for the quarterfinals. 

They finished third in their group behind Algerian heavyweights USM Alger (11) and Rayon Sport (nine) of Rwanda after a heart-breaking 1-2 loss to the former away in Algiers in the final round of fixtures of the second tier continental showpiece.

Under the guidance of British head coach Dylan Kerr, K’Ogalo retained the annual eight-team regional knockout tournament, SportPesa Cup title in Nakuru by humbling Tanzania giants Simba SC 2-0 in the final played at Afraha Stadium on June 10.

Their roaring year also saw them lose on post-match penalties to Hull City FC in a landmark friendly at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on May 13 at a sold out cathedral of Kenyan sport, attracting record numbers never witnessed since a World Cup qualifier against Nigeria in 1997.

On November 6, Gor became the first Kenyan club to play at an English Premier League ground when they fell 0-4 to Everton FC at Goodison Park in another landmark occasion for the country’s football.

Curtain raiser

K’Ogalo, who kicked-off the year by winning the domestic season curtain raiser KPL Super Cup, edging out eternal rivals AFC Leopards 1-0 at Afraha in February, also took bronze at the 2018 Cecafa Kagame Cup regional club championship.

Gor lifted the 2015 Team of the Year crown following a season where they went the entire domestic top flight campaign unbeaten under Scottish boss, Frank Nutall besides returning to the Cecafa Kagame finals for the first time in almost two decades.

On the other hand,Stars broke a 15-year jinx to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). The national team had a fine campaign that saw them shock Ghana 1-0 at Kasarani, holding Ethiopia 0-0 away before thrashing the Walya Antelopes 3-0 at home to inch closer to qualification.

In late November, CAF confirmed Stars had punched their ticket to the 2019 AFCON with a game away to Ghana to spare following the disqualification of Sierra Leone from the biannual continental showpiece that will be held from June 15 to July 15 this year at a yet to be disclosed venue.

Stars played eight matches in 2018, winning five, drawing one and losing twice. Apart from AFCON qualifiers, they won 2-1 against New Zealand, 4-1 against Chinese Taipei, Malawi 1-0 in friendly matches while losing 3-0 and 2-0 to India.

The Davis Cup team had a successful year as well after surprising regional bigwigs to qualify for Europe/Africa Zone Group II in 2019 following their Group III tournament victory in Nairobi.

Kenya broke the jinx to end their exile from Group II with top class performance taking advantage of their home supporters to force their way to the top.

Team Kenya beat top seeded Benin 2-1 after Sheil Kotecha secured a 6-4, 6-4 win over Delmas N'tcha but saw Benin's Alexis Klegou defeat Kenya's Ismael Changawa 7-6, 6-4.

The match had to be settled in the doubles in which Changawa teamed up with Ibrahim Kibet to overcome Felix Hounkpevi and Klegou 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. It was first time Kenya was hosting the Davis Cup since 2002.

The Kanbis Sports team will be out to emulate the Kenya Under 19 Cricket team who won 2017 men’s team after having a fine season.

They won the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association Super Division 50 over Championships unbeaten to make it their 16th title in the domestic competition.

The team that is based at Eastleigh High School in Nairobi, also went ahead to clinch the annual Twenty20 championships.

Making the final list is the Kenya team that participated in 2nd World Deaf Handball championship In Caxias Do sul Brazil in July where they finished fifth out of eight overall to top the African standings.

They beat Ghana 10-0 but lost 31-15 and 24-14 to Turkey and Brazil respectively to finish third in their pool as the top two advanced to the semi finals. 

Kenya dropped to the classification matches where they beat Cameroon and Ecuador (24-20, 32-6) to finish fifth.