A last minute disagreement between the organisers of the annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) and the would be chief guest, Ghana legend Stephen Appiah, is what led to the invitation of former Kenya international Mike Okoth as a replacement, it has emerged.
Appiah, who captained the Black Stars at the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Germany, was all set to grace the Soya gala night on Wednesday at the KICC in Nairobi, but the deal broke down at the last minute over his appearance fee.
According to Soka25east, the event organisers were willing to offer Appiah about Sh200,000 which fell way short of his demands. Appiah had asked for double the amount.
“The guy said they will pay me 2000 dollars (Sh200,000) and I immediately told him I felt embarrassed with the figure,” Appiah, who currently is part of the Ghana national football team’s technical bench, is quoted as saying.
“I’m not the guy who talks too much about money so I told the guy that I would prefer to go to the event for free. I have done many events that I didn’t take anything.”
But after Appiah failed to arrive in Nairobi on Wednesday morning as expected, the organizers were forced to hurriedly invite Okoth as a replacement.
Okoth starred for Harambee Stars during his playing days and is the father to Wolfsburg forward Divock Origi,
As the chief guest, Okoth will not only hand over the award to the overall winner, but also deliver a keynote speech during the gala night.
Favorites to win the overall gong in this year’s edition of the awards are athletes Conseslus Kipruto, Elijah Manangoi and Geoffrey Kirui.
The annual Soya awards celebrate the best performing Kenyan athletes in various categories.