The 2015 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) got a shot in the arm yesterday when the organisers received a boost of over Sh3.7m from three companies.
Sports betting company mCheza forked out Sh3 million, Kempinski Hoteliers gave out Sh311,500 and Nairobi Bottlers Limited Sh400,000. The donation from Kempinski, which will host the chief celebrity guest, and Nairobi Bottlers is in cash and kind.
The winners will be announced during the Soya Gala Night on January 15, at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.
Soya panel of judges chairman Watson Karuma and director Simon Chebon received the sponsorship cheques from mCheza’s head of marketing, John Seel, and Kempinski director of sales and marketing, Anne Murungi.
“There is need to identify, mould and reward talent. As a new company, we have to put our mouth where the money is,” said Seel.
He said Kenyan sportsmen and women need to be celebrated and rewarded, noting that topping the medal standings for the first time at the World Championships in athletics in China last year is a great achievement.
“I urge other corporates to join hands in celebrating the achievements of our sportsmen and women,” said Seel.
Murungi said Kempinski is glad to partner with Soya. At the same time, she blamed Football Kenya Federation for ruining the game as a result of wrangles and poor management.
“I am sure so many corporates would like to support football, but not in the prevailing conditions. Poor management is hindering our teams from making it to major tournaments,” said Murungi.
Karuma said a new category, Evergreen, has been introduced in the awards. He said the panel faced tough moments when selecting the finalists owing to stiff competition. “We have done our best, the deserving sportsmen and women will be rewarded,” he said.