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Harambee Stars ace nominated for Soya award

Sunday December 15 2019
tosh_pix

Kenya's Harambee Stars midfielder Johanna Omolo celebrates scoring against Togo during their Africa Cup of Nation qualifier at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on November 18, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

By AYUMBA AYODI

Harambee Stars midfielder Johanna Omollo and World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei’s coach Eric Kimaiyo are among four personalities nominated for the 2019 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Award (Soya) Community Hero top honour.

Also in contention are former international cricketer Peter Ong’ondo and another football coach Bernard Makumi.

The winner will be declared and rewarded alongside others during the 2019 Soya Gala planned for January 24 in Mombasa County.

The Belgium-based Omollo has been nominated because of the work he does with the Johanna Omollo Foundation in Dandora where he began his football career.

The foundation, which was started in 2017, has been supporting kids through education scholarships, mentorship and entrepreneurship programmes.

The foundation also provides sanitary pads to teenage girls among many other initiatives meant to uplift the livelihoods of the youth of the informal sector.

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Over 80 kids have received school fees and other supplies while 200 girls benefit by getting sanitary pads every month.

The Harambee Stars player is also a member of Common Goal, a charitable organisation that draws willing professional footballers and coaches to donate one percent of their wages to non-governmental organisations working in football.

This year Omollo was named the winner of the Fifpro Merit Award for his outstanding community work in Dandora.

Elgeyo-Marakwet based coach Kimaiyo, was nominated due to the good work he has been doing at his Kapsait camp especially with youth from cattle-rustling communities.

Kimaiyo is credited with giving life to the former Fila athletics camp by pumping in his own money to help restart the camp and naming it Kapsait Training camp.

He also runs a school, Kapsait Athletics Secondary School which he mainly uses to tap talent.

Kimaiyo admits talented athletes are allowed to study at the school at subsidized rates while those who can’t afford to pay school fees are allowed to study for free and pay back later once they start making money in athletics.

World Under-20 champion Edward Zakayo is one of those athletes who are studying at the school among others. Apart from Brigid, other athletes who have gone through Kimaiyo’s camp are the likes of Elizabeth Romukal.

Ong'ondo, a former national cricket team assistant coach, has found a way of integrating the less privileged members of the deaf society into the sport. He first started working with Pangani Special School before approaching Ngala School of the deaf in Nakuru where he tried to teach cricket.

Ong'ondo who works with two volunteers to help with translation solely caters for their allowances and sources for kits from the President of Malta Cricket Paul Bradley whom he approached when he took up this initiative.

Makumi works mainly as a volunteer in helping the mentally challenged athletes. He has used the power of sports to ensure athletes with intellectual disabilities access primary and secondary education. He has advocated various secondary school head teachers to admit athletes with intellectual disabilities.

He also supports and mentors his players to undertake economic activities from the money they make from sports.

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