TAIFA Stars duo of Juma Kaseja and Aggrey Morris were respectively declared best goalkeeper and best overall player as Vodacom Tanzania presented trophies and cash awards to winners of the recently concluded Premier League season over the weekend.
The mobile telephone company, who are the league's main sponsors, dished out over 113m/- to various teams and individuals during a colourful prize presentation ceremony held at the Double Tree Hotel in Dar es Salaam on Saturday night and officiated by former Prime Minister Fredrick Sumaye.
It was the second award for the Azam FC central defender, Morris, as only last month he scooped best male soccer player bestowed by the Tanzania Sports Writers Association (TASWA). He beat off competition from Yanga's Haruna Niyonzima and Haruna Moshi of Simba.
Kaseja, the nominee for the best male soccer player award, was recognized for his outstanding performance between the posts, as he guided Simba to their second league trophy in three seasons, playing in all 26 matches. He beat off competition from Azam's Mwadili Ally Azam and Mtibwa Sugar's Deogratias Munishi. Kaseja and Morris were awarded 3,312,500/- each.
John Bocco won the golden boot award after scoring 18 goals; Azam FC's Stewart Hall scooped the best coach's gong ahead of JKT's Charles Kilinda and Ruvu Shooting's Charles Mkwasa, while Martin Saanya from Morogoro won the best referee's award ahead of Oden Mbaga and Amon Paul. Each of them took home 3,875,000/-.
Mainland league champions Simba SC received 50m/-, first runner-up Azam FC walked away with 22m/- while 15.5m/- went to second runners-up, Young Africans. Azam were also the most disciplined team and received a 7,750,000/- reward. Simba clinched the top flight title after amassing 62 points in 26 outings, which saw the Msimbazi Street giants finish six-point ahead of runners-up, Azam FC. Deposed Young Africans finished third with 49 points.
Speaking during the event, former PM Sumaye expressed his dismay over the current poor standards of local football as compared to the 1970's when the country's football flourished internationally. Sumaye attributed the decline of the standard of domestic football to two big clubs Simba and Yanga, whom he accused of lacking a broader vision and instead concentrate on winning the bragging rights over each other.
He also warned clubs to avoid conflicts as most of them have proved detrimental towards their prosperity and that of Tanzanian football. He challenged leaders who are appointed to lead clubs to perform their duties in the best interest of their clubs. Vodacom Head of Brand and Communication, Kelvin Twissa reiterated the company's commitment to continue building, strengthening and enhancing the positive brand association with football fans across the country.
Twissa said Vodacom was keen to not only support the development of sports talent but also thought it necessary to recognize outstanding performance among sportsmen and women across the country. "We are proud to be the sponsors of VPL so far. A lot of talent has been exposed, with entertaining matches all through the league. That is why we are here to reward those that performed well," said Twissa.