The KPL player of the year award is a jinx and players should be running away from it. Crucify me…what do I have to lose anyway?…It’s January and I am as frustrated as the next man you will meet…
But look at it this way, each and every winner of the award
has not had the career success that is expected to come with such a 'high-profile' award...
Mathare United's Francis Ouma won the award in 2008, immediately after which he moved to Italy where he trained with Serie A side Parma before being loaned out to G.D. Tourizense.
He returned to Kenya two years later to join Sofapaka before returning to his former club Mathare in 2012. He is now signed to SoNy Sugar FC.
With Sofapaka, John Baraza picked the award in 2009. I really don’t know what his plans are because he is still getting paid by Kalekwa; but he is an old man and has played in Sweden, Malaysia, Tanzania, Rwanda…so I will excuse him for today.
With pomp, glamour and beautiful girls by his side George Blackberry Odhiambo was named the player of the year in 2010, while signed to Gor Mahia. The former Thur Gem student became an instant superstar and was listed among the top 100 young players to look out for in 2011.
He immediately got himself an agent, who found him a deal with Danish side Randers FC. After an unsuccessful stint characterized with lengthy bench-warming sessions, he returned to East Africa to join Tanzanian side Azam FC in 2012. He was kicked out a few months down the line and is now training with Nairobi City Stars (who would have thought?).
On 7 December 2011, Kelvin Kimani beat Rama Salim, Steven Waruru, Charles Okwemba, James Omondi and Geoffrey Maina to take home the country’s biggest football award. With the new found popularity, Kimani snubbed attempts by AFC Leopards and other local teams to sign him.
Later, he, together with Kevin Opiyo travelled to Germany to try out with the KFC Uerdingen 05, then playing in the country’s fifth-tier league (an equivalent of Shamakhokho’s Vichakani FC ). The two Kevins were dropped days later after they skipped training, to look for mandazi in Uerdingen town centre (…ok, I really don’t know why they were chased away…).
After seven months in the cold, and with his popularity fast becoming a memory, he eventually made a compromise signing with Belgian Division Three side Bocholt. No body knows how he is performing there because the media decided he was not worth the attention.
Dani sserunkuma, of Gor Mahia won it in the last season…..let’s wait and see.