Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) will for the second time in a row will be staged in Mombasa on January 24th.
For the second time, Safaricom has partnered with County government of Mombasa for the prestigious sports award.
The iconic Fort Jesus was the venue of 15th edition where athletics World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge was crowned the 2018 Soya winner.
Speaking during the 2019 Soya launch at Tamarind Mombasa on Thursday evening, the Mombasa County Chief of staff, Job Tumbo, said the exact venue of the event will be known in the next few weeks.
Tumbo said partnership with Soya will see the coastal county benefit and become another sports tourism hub following the huge benefits after hosting the event for the first time in January this year.
Tumbo, who had stepped in for Mombasa County Governor, Hassan Joho, explained that his boss is committed to use Soya as a platform to inspire sports development at Coast region.
Kenya Sevens star William “Lomu” Ambaka represented Soya founder Paul Tergat during the launch where he received sponsorship cheques and pledged from several sponsors
“Sports industry is a multi-billion global industry and as a country we must start professionalising this industry so as to harness the economic opportunities that come with it,” said Joho in a speech read on his behalf by Tumbo.
“Our young men and women need not all be doctors and surgeons, we need to start mentoring them into sporting careers.”
Joho cashed on the launch to announce that Mombasa County will in a few months’ time launch the Mombasa International Stadium construction, a modern state of the art sports facility that will promote and showcase the huge pool of talent in the region.
“This facility will be one of its kind in the region and we shall welcome you to witness it,” said Joho.
Ambaka stepped in to receive a cheque of Sh500,000 from United Bank of Africa and Communication Authority of Kenya, who join a number of other sponsors.
“We believe in the spirit of enabling and encouraging sportsmanship and applaud the great efforts our sportsmen and women continue to put in to excel,” said Emeke Iweriebor, the CEO for UBA East and Southern Africa.
Ambaka, who honed his rugby skills in Mombasa, hailed Mombasa County and other sponsors for joining hands to support the noble venture.
“This is a noble course that make athletes like me feel appreciated,” said Ambaka, who emerged third in Sportsman of the year category at the 2018 Soya behind Kipchoge and Elijah Manangói.
Ambaka is in the Kenya Sevens team that was named on Thursday for the 2019/2020 World Rugby Sevens Series starting in Dubai on December 5-7 in United Arab Emirates.
Others sponsors are Kenya Pipeline, New KCC, Lapfund, Kenya Power, Nairobi Bottlers , Kenya Ports Authority, NHIF, NSSF, Kenya Tourism Board and GOtv