SOYA Awards 2023: Kenya’s top teams and athletes vie for top honours


As the 20th Edition of the Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) gala set for the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on 1 March fast approaches, the air is thick with anticipation. This prestigious event aims to celebrate the remarkable achievements of Kenyan athletes across various disciplines, recognising their hard work, dedication and the pride they bring to the nation.

The event is not just a recognition of individual and team accomplishments but a showcase of the unyielding spirit of Kenyan sportsmanship, and inspiration to future generations of athletes.

Men’s Sports Team of the Year

The competition for the Men’s Sports Team of the Year award is particularly fierce this year, with five outstanding teams in the running. The national Roll Ball team, having secured their first-ever world championship title in a thrilling victory over hosts India, is among the finalists. They face stiff competition from Kabras Sugar rugby team, Kakamega Homeboyz FC, the national football under-18 team (Junior Stars), and the national sevens side, Shujaa. Each team has made significant achievements, from Shujaa’s win at the Africa Sevens and qualification for the Paris Olympics, Kakamega Homeboyz’s maiden Football Kenya Federation Cup win, to Kabras Rugby’s dominance in the Kenya Cup and Enterprise Cup defense. The race for the top spot is expected to be a highlight of the gala.

Kabras Sugar RFC player.

Women’s Sports Team of the Year

In the Women’s Sports Team of the Year category, the competition is equally intense. The Malkia Strikers lead the charge, having reclaimed the African title in women’s volleyball, with the Roll Ball team, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) basketball team, the Basketball 3×3 national team, and the Nairobi Water Handball team also vying for the coveted award. Each team has demonstrated exceptional skill and determination, making this category one to watch closely at the SOYA gala.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) basketball team.

Sportswoman Living with Disability

The Sportswoman Living with Disability category shines a spotlight on the incredible achievements of athletes overcoming challenges to excel in their respective sports. Finalists include rower Asiya Sururu, who set a new world record in indoor rowing, alongside Jane Ndenga, Purity Jepkirui Kandie, Nancy Chelangat, and Ruth Chemurgor. These athletes have shown remarkable talent and resilience, making their category one of the most inspiring of the event.

Sportsman of the Year

The Sportsman of the Year award promises to be a poignant moment of the evening, as the late Kelvin Kiptum is honored posthumously alongside his peers. Kiptum’s record-breaking performances at the Chicago and London Marathons left an indelible mark on the athletics world. Competing for the title alongside him are volleyballer Simon ‘Kosirai’ Kipkorir, Kenya Sevens star Patrick Odongo, world 10,000m and world half marathon silver medalist Daniel Simiu, and world 800m silver medalist Emmanuel Wanyonyi. Each athlete has achieved excellence in their field, making this award a tribute to their dedication and success.

The late Kelvin Kiptum.

SOYA Awards finalists

Men’s Sports Team of the Year

Kabras Sugar – Rugby

Junior Stars – Football

Kenya 7s – Rugby


Kakamega Homeboyz – Football 

Women’s Sports Team of the Year

Nairobi Water Handball Team

Roll Ball Team

Kenya 3X3 Basketball

KPA Basketball

Malkia Strikers – Volleyball 

Sportsman of the Year Category

Kelvin Kiptum (Athletics)

Daniel Simiu (Athletics)

Emmanuel Wanyonyi (Athletics)

Patrick Odongo (Rugby)

Simon Kipkorir (Volleyball) 

Sportswoman of the Year Category

Faith Kipyegon

Peres Jepchirchir

Anjela Okutoyi

Marjolene Nekesa

Beatrice Chebet 

Girls School Team of the Year

Butere Girls (Football)

Kesogon (Volleyball)

St Joseph’s Kitale (Handball)

Kwanzanthe (Volleyball)

Nyamira Girls (Hockey) 

Boys School Team of the Year

Namwela (Volleyball)

Koyonzo (Rugby 7S)

Onjiko (Basketball 3X3)

St Anthony’s Kitale (Football)

Butula (Rugby 15s) 

Schools Coach of the Year

Justin Kigwari (Kwanzanthe)

Peter Mayoyo (St Anthony’s)

Stephen Kigai (Nyamira Girls)

Isaac Muresia (Namwela)

Eliud Okwemba (Koyonzo

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