The Kenya Sports Journalist Association together with betting company Sports Pesa has today unveiled SJAK Footballer of the Month Award for players taking part in the Kenyan Premier League.
The deal will see winners take home Ksh. 50 thousand shillings and 42 inch TV. Winners will be picked by a panel of SJAK journalist who cover local football and they will also seek guidance from KPL. The initiative will start by rewarding player of month for March and April. Winners will also get a trophy.
The deal will run for one for one year and it’s renewable with Sports Pesa Marketing Director Kester Muhanji confirming they will seek to make the awards bigger starting from next year. The awards are first of a kind in the industry and SJAK secretary general Mike Okinyi says the programme will impact the growth of talent in the local league.
Speaking during the launch, SJAK President Chris Mbaisi said their main agenda is to support local footballers as well strengthening local league. Mbaisi says the awards scheme will bring to end controversies which have surrounded FOYA awards over the past.
Questions were raised during last year’s Kenyan Premier League awards and Mbaisi says their project will be an eye opener to the public. He also reveled in future they might consider monthly awards for coaches as well as referees.
“At the end of the year we will do a review and discuss way forward, we may consider coach of the year or referees who are doing a lot of work, it’s just the beginning and Sky is our limit” Mbaisi said.
“It’s now up to us to encourage the footballers and make sure they are working hard, they can perform but sometimes they decide to sabotage the club because they are not getting paid, but now we have this scheme, they will work hard to win the prize” He added.
On reaching out to other Sports, the SJAK president noted at the moment they are focused on football since other sports are well covered by Soya. Mbaisi said poor performance of the national team in international level has seen many neglect footballers and focus on other sports.
The launch was also graced by KPL chairman Ambrose Rachier who hailed SJAK for their good imitative. Rachier said the plan will improve standards of football in the country. SJAK officials are set to hold a meeting next week to deliberate in the same.