Ladies and Gentlemen
May I take the earliest opportunity to welcome you all to the 7th edition of the Safaricom sports personality of the year awards, SOYA.
When I look back to the first time this idea was mooted and see how glamorous and exciting it is tonight, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude to every last one of the team and supporters who have made this dream live on.
May I extend a very special welcome to our celebrity guest and football legend, Taribo West for accepting to share this auspicious gala night today courtesy of Dstv’s Super Sports brand.
Truly, the mix of all of the sports stars and legends here this evening is so rich no other gathering can boast of such an assembly and I would like to thank them because they are the reason for our being here.
The SOYA awards objective has been and will remain to recognize and honour our sports men and women for their outstanding service to this country each year through sports. No one can deny them the right to claim to be the true, authentic ambassadors of Kenya.
Recently in Delhi India during the Commonwealth Games, just like in many others such forums, our national anthem was played so many times, sometimes back-to-back, so much so that thousands of fans in the stadium were actually singing along the anthem very well. Let us all give it to our athletes from all sports tonight and I propose that we give them a standing ovation! Thank you.
Of course, as SOYA seeks to honour all those who perform very well, it is also its intention that every sports discipline becomes not only active but conquers the best in the world. I would like to see a major revival of fairly dormant or non-performing sports disciplines. I know we have tremendous talent amongst our youth as attested by the high level of competition by our school games.
What is required is for each federation to take serious stock of its position and mandate and clearly define, more so justify its reason for existence. It is time we signed performance contracts with our people so that we can be held accountable against those benchmarks.
While the Government has endeavoured to lead from the front, this has been insufficient because the policy framework to guide our sports is not in place. I would wish to request the Minister for Sports, who is here with us and our legislators to conclude this matter as a matter of urgency. I expect full support and enrichment of that Sports Bill once it is tabled in Parliament so that we can take this special resource of sports to a new level.
Ladies and gentlemen
Allow me to extend special thank you to Safaricom Ltd for its continued sponsorship of this awards since inception. It takes great faith and confidence to run with an event for that long and this show the premium the firm places in our sports development. I know many other corporate organizations have invested equally substantially in many sports related initiatives and I commend them.
This year, I wish to thank other soya co-sponsors. Many are able to watch the awards live tonight courtesy of the KTN of the Standard Group. The National bank of Kenya, , Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), the Coca Cola East Africa as our official beverage sponsor through its dasani brand, National Social Security Fund, NSSF are all with us alongside Deacons Kenya Ltd which has sponsored the beautiful trophies to be presented shortly.
Huawei Technologies, NHIF and Super Sport have all part of the sponsors which has made this gala to be this wonderful. The Minsitry of Sports is always a significant partner in these awards and I thank them for all the support and goodwill they have given us. I know the SOYA awards have grown to be a national event, which brings together all disciplines just like the Ministry is the mother of all.
Thank you Sarova Stanley Hotel, Nairobi Bottlers and Wines of the World for your invaluable support. We thank KICC for always hosting us here. The media has always been very strong supporters of these awards and I thank them.
I wish us all a pleasant gala.