Harambee Stars midfield kingpin Omollo nominated for SOYA award

Harambee Stars midfield dynamo Johanna Omollo has been nominated for the Community Hero award at the upcoming Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) slated for January 24 in Mombasa.

The Belgium-based footballer will however battle it out with athletics coach Eric Kimaiyo, former national cricket team player Peter Ongondo and another coach in Bernard Makumi.

Omollo has been nominated for the work he does with the Johanna Omollo Foundation in Dandora, set up in 2017 which supports kids’ education scholarships, mentorship and entrepreneurship.

The foundation also provides sanitary pads to teenage girls among many other initiatives meant to uplift the livelihoods of the youth in the informal sector. Over 80 kids have received school fees and other supplies while 200 girls benefit by getting sanitary pads every month.

The Cercle Brugge 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.

The 30-year-old was also named the winner of the FIFPRO Merit Award for his outstanding community work in Dandora.

On his part, Kimaiyo who is also the coach of world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei was nominated due to the ‘good work’ he has been doing at his Kapsait camp. He is credited with giving life to the former Fila athletics camp by pumping in 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 with World Under-20 champion Edward Zakayo one of those athletes who are studying at the school currently.

Other athletes who have been mentored by Kimaiyo include Elizabeth Romukal, Leah Kibet, a semi-finalist at the IAAF World Under 18 Championships, East Africa Secondary School Games 5,000m champion Catherine Relin, Joseph Muigai, Reuben Longosiwa among others.

Ongondo – a former assistant cricket 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.

They held their first mini cricket for the deaf this year which he used fund raised through Facebook with members of the cricket without boundaries also chipping in.

The deaf girls won two matches in the mini cricket held last month with two of them  given call-ups to the Under 19 national team trials.

Ongondo 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 meanwhile uses 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.

He runs his club as a unified club, meaning that he gives opportunities and nurtures talents for youth with and without intellectual disabilities.

This has not only transformed the lives of the players but that of the community as well and with his efforts the County Government of Makueni has recognized persons with intellectual disabilities and now the county mobilizes resources to support their sporting activities.