Ali Hassan Abondo, popularly known as “Teargas” Abondo has scooped the first SportPesa SJAK Footballer of the month award for March 2015. Abondo was awarded Wednesday May 13 by a panel of sports journalists.
“It is a dream for every player to be recognised especially for hard work put in on the pitch. I worked hard, and I believe this is the fruit of my hard labour for Gor Mahia,” said Abondo upon receiving the award.
The winner of the award was kept a secret and the Gor Mahia players were caught by surprise when sports journalists and SportsPesa representatives arrived at their training venue armed with a trophy, a 42 inch colour tv and a cheque of 50 thousand shillings.
The players themselves could not guess who the award will go to as three of them have really performed well so far this season. The guess was between Abondo, Meddie Kagere and Michael Olunga.
Speaking after the award, SportPesa chief marketing officer Kester Muhanji said this is the beginning of better things to come in the association with the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya, (SJAK).
“We are happy to partner with the sports journalists and we have seen the excitement that this award has created today. We know that this will increase competition among the players in all the teams, and this in return will raise the level of football in Kenya,” he added.
Spoprts journalists compiled their nominees as presented by various members. the list was whittled down to 5 players. After deliberations, the panel of seven cut the list to three finalists, Ali Abondo from Gor Mahia, Tusker FC captain Jesse Were and AFC Leopards striker Jacob Keli.
Keli was knocked off the list by virtue of contribution to the team and what his influence was in the team as far as their position on the log was concerned. It was then put to a vote where Abondo won with a landslide of all seven votes.
“I came back to Gor Mahia a stronger player. I knew what was required of me, and my aim is to maintain Gor Mahia where I found them; at the top of the league. I hope to win something bigger as well at the end of the season,” said an elated Abondo.
Abondo is currently the joint to scorer in the Kenyan Premier League with seven goals. He was at Gor Mahia two seasons ago then moved to Tusker FC and Bandari where he did not perform as well. This season he is back at Gor Mahia and has proved to be a talisman, a midfielder with a nose for crucial goals that have propelled Gor Mahia to the summit of the league with 27 points, a cool eight points ahead of the chasing pack of Tusker FC, Thika United and Western Stima.