Top Championship side South Coast Pirates were today feted in an end of season awards ceremony held at Sizzlers Bar and Restaurant in Diani, Kenya.
The club, though not promoted to Kenya Cup after a season of high-end exploits in the Championship made it to the playoff quarter-finals but were beaten by USIU.
Morale is high but Head Coach Kenny Andola repeatedly insisted "beatings will continue until the morale improves" as the club's driving statement ahead of the new season where Pirates are expected to compete against the likes of high flying Menengai Oilers, Mean Machine, Western Bulls etc.
The coach might be an accomplished man but if playing at the highest level of rugby in this country instilled determination in himself, then the players will pick up lessons after Andola gave a heartwarming speech during the awards ceremony on Saturday evening.
"When I started with South Coast Pirates, the idea was to put together structures. And anywhere you have structures or systems, you are bound to get results, planned results. They performed well and we know they are going to build on those structures we have put in." said Andola Prior to the awards ceremony.
The club also performed a 'Koroga' where members of the team were put into 8 different groups of 4 and tasked with preparing the best of meals. Group 8 won comfortably after scooping twenty-four points. The Dan Mwadime led team comprising Jacob Adera, Timothy Osaji and Bigihi Luta were named winners after they fought off competition from groups five and six who followed slightly behind with twenty points each.
These players may have received recognition for their off-field activities but none from the winning group was lucky enough to be feted with personal awards after the cooking contest came to an end.
Team Manager Kelvin Amiani picked up 3 awards and Charles Okwemba received a brace while Marco Amani, Nicholas Omodo, Ali Rashid, Charles Tendwa and Stephen Ongeri all went home with a single award.
In total, ten awards were dished out but the night belonged to Kelvin Amiani who scooped three awards including the highly rated Most Valuable Player award as well as sharing the top try scorer token with Charles Tendwa, whom together with Marco Amani were presented with awards in absentia.
In recognition of helping the club reach the latter stages of the Championship, Head Coach Andola was presented with the Chairman's Award (as pictured above) and the cheers which accompanied his collection of the award told a story of its own on how highly rated the Kenya Simbas flyhalf is in these parts of the country.
"I'm just excited, very happy. I've achieved the target that I wanted when the season started." said an ecstatic Kevin Amiani whom apart from being named the club's MVP and sharing the top try scorer's award with Amani also took away the highest points scorer accolade.
Amani himself, though not present, also received recognition, for his brilliant try scored in the win against fierce rivals Mombasa at Mombasa Sports Club.
Ali Rashid battled William Kyalo to clinch the academy player of the year award in his second season at the club but despite only playing a single Championship match for the club, the player is upbeat about his gradual improvement and hopes to topple other scrum-halves in the pecking order.
"The coach and players saw my improvement that's why they gave me a chance to show my potential." said young Rashid at the end of the ceremony.
Full list of award winners
Chairman's Award - Kenny Andola
Top Try Scorer - Joint winners Kevin Amiani and Charles Tendwa
Highest Points scorer - Kevin Amiani
Try of the Season - Marco Amani
Academy Player of the Year - Ali Rashid
Most Promising Player - Steve Ongeri
Player's Player - Charles Okwemba
Most Improved Pplayer - Nicholas Omodo
Pirates Spirit Award - Charles Okwemba
Captain's Award - Derrick Mambili
Most Valuable Player - Kevin Amiani