AFC Leopards held the first ever Ingwe Awards Night on Friday 2nd December at Egloos Lounge along Mombasa Road. The event was to award the players, technical bench and fans who had supported the team and brought it this far. We finished in the 5th position in the Kenya Premier League and had a second leg of unbeaten matches.
The event was glitzy. The ladies turned out in all manner of wear, from glamorous gowns to Rio Tinto(official jersey) and jeans. The men were in suits (probably straight from the work place) and some in Rio Tinto as well. The players were not to be outdone, led by one Jonas Paco who was the defender of the year!
Papa Shirandula (whose real name is Charles Bukeko) and an Ingwelet (female AFC fan) Monica were the MCs of the evening. The stage was set, the lights were ready and the live band blasted out tunes that set the festive mood of the evening. Among the invited guests were legends Joe Kadenge (who remembers the commentators of yester-years going like Kadenge na mpira..Kadenge na mpira..gooaaallll!), Harambee Stars and AFC legendary goalkeeper Mahmoud Abbas and Dr. Dan Shikanda (who also played for the national team and Gor at one time! He assured me his heart is now fully Ingwe’s!). The KFK/KFF? chairman Nyamweya was also in the house. Representing Mumias Sugar the official sponsor of AFC was one Pamela Lutta. And many more invited guests, legends, sponsors…et cetera, et cetera!
Here’s the list of awards, in no particular order (courtsey of the AFC Leopards Official Site)
Nairobi Mayor His Worship George Aladwa presented Life Time achievement award to Kenya’s finest legend Joe Kadenge as he edged fellow nominees Josphat Murila and JJ Masiga. Pamela Lutta, Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Mumias Sugar was on point to present the player of the year award to Bernard Mangoli who walked home with a cool Kshs 30,000 just like Kadenge. To present the tactician of the year award was FKF chairman Sam Nyamweya who rewarded Jan Koops with the Kshs 20,000 prize money plus trophy and medal. Other winners of the night were Nicholas Muyoti for most disciplined player, Mike Barasa for top striker, Charles Okwemba for best midfielder,Nahimana Jonas for best defender, Patrick Matasi for best goalkeeper, Josphat Odanga for chairman’s exemplary award, Vincent Were for male fan of the year and Halima Hanii for female fan of the year.
I had to leave the event early (11pm is early when others left at 4.30am!) but I know the awards were a big success! I remember when Joe Kadenge, whose son (Oscar Kadenge) also plays for AFC, was given a moment to speak. He told us of a time when the Harambee Stars squad consisted of 9 players from AFC. Only the goalkeeper and striker were from other teams. Sadly, the current Harambee Stars squad doesn’t have a single player from AFC. I am not saying that is the reason Harambee Stars got kicked out of the CECAFA cup being played in Tanzania right now, but Kimanzi should surely consider a new squad!
My camera ran out of juice early in the night so I don’t have many pictures. However, if you can find more photos of the event on the AFC Leopards Facebook Branch group. You need to be a member to comment but you can view them even when not a member.
I look forward to the next Ingwe event! The music from Friday night is still playing in my head. (♫ Muliro wanje.. muliro wanje ♫ iiiiii iiiiiii iii iii i.. ♫ uuuuuuuu uuuuuu uuuuuu uuu u ♫)