Kenya Davis Cup team non-playing captain Rosemary Owino faces four male coaches for the Coach of the Year award during the 2018 Safaricom Sport Personality of the Year Award (Soya) gala due January 11 in Mombasa.
Owino, who has been nominated for the first time, will battle two-time winner Jos Openda, who is Telkom women’s hockey coach and Kenya women’s rugby team, Lionesses coach Kevin ‘Bling’ Wambua.
Others in contention for the award, whose winner will be feted at a function that will be held at the iconic Fort Jesus, is Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) rugby team coach Curtis Olago and Kenya Prisons women’s volleyball team coach Josp Barasa.
Just like Openda, Wambua and Olago have been nominated before but are yet to win the gong, while Barasa has been nominated for the first time.
The Soya gala is being co-sponsored by Mombasa County, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Communication Authority (CA), Kenya Pipeline, Kenya Power, LapFund, New KCC, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), GOTv and Protel Studios.
Owino, who guided Team Kenya back to Davis Cup Euro/Africa Group Two Tennis championship after 13 years, hopes that her achievement will give her an advantage over the other four coaches.
The tennis coach led Ismael Changawa and Ibrahim Kibet in beating top seeded Benin pair of Alexis Klegou and Felix Hounkpevi during the Africa Group Three final played at the Nairobi Club in June 2018.
Owino also led Sheil Kotecha in beating Delmas N’Tcha also of Benin 6-4, 6-4 in the doubles.
Wambua will also be hoping to impress the panel of charges after guiding the Kenya Lionesses to their first ever Africa Sevens title.
‘Bling’ as he is popularly known, led the Kenya girls in lifting the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens trophy in Gaborone, Botswana in May with a 29-7 win over Uganda in the final.
He also steered Lionesses to the Cup semi-finals of the Women’s World Series Qualifiers in Hong Kong in April, where Kenya beat South Africa for the first time.
Wambua also led the Lionesses to a sixth place finish at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia also in April.
Openda, who won Coach of the Year accolade in 2014 and 2016, will bank on his team’s prowess in winning the women’s hockey Premier League title for a record 21st time and unbeaten for the sixth year running to win again.
Openda guided his team in reclaiming the Africa Club Championships title in Abuja, Nigeria with convincing 2-0 win over arch-rivals Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the final to make it a record 10 titles.
Olago, who hopes to be lucky this time round, guided KCB to successful Kenya Cup title defence as they won the league unbeaten.
Barasa led his charges in reclaiming the Kenya Volleyball Federation league title from rivals Kenya Pipeline.
After four years of near misses, Barasa finally masterminded the triumph at the national play-offs in December at Kasarani with his team winning all three matches.
Before that, Prisons had also beaten Pipeline at the continental stage in the semi-finals stage of the Africa Club Championships in April before also losing in the final.
Coach of the Year nominees:
Curtis Olago (Rugby-KCB), Jos Openda (Hockey-Telkom women), Rosemary Owino (Tennis -Davis Cup), Kevin Wambua (rugby-women), Josp Barasa (volleyball-women)