The Organising Committee for the 2020 256 Footballer of the Year (256FOTY) Award has released an initial list of 15 nominees in the running to replace Allan Okello as the winner of the prestigious award.
The attacking midfielder who became the inaugural winner of the award in 2019 is not among the initial nominees to reclaim the prize after a rather quiet season following his move to Paradou AC in January.
The shortlist is dominated by the Uganda Premier League, with eight players of the 15 still playing locally.
Uganda Cranes captain Denis Onyango who finished fourth in the race last year returns on the shortlist this year after another commanding season with his side Mamelodi Sundowns.
Sundowns is still in search of a third consecutive Absa Premiership title and reached the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League.
Timothy Awany is another candidate who made the final shortlist last year, and after a strong and dominant season with Ashdod FC in the Israeli Premier League, he will fancy his chances this year.
Awany’s teammate Fahad Bayo played a crucial role for Vipers as they secured their fourth league crown scoring 12 goals before moving on to Ashdod. Hapoel Kfabar Saba’s Kizito Luwagga is also on the list.
Forward Farouq Miya had a brilliant season with Konyaspor in the Turkish Premier League where he scored eight goals as he helped the Anatolian Eagles survive relegation.
Mustafa Kizza had a blistering year with KCCA on an individual level, scoring six goals and providing another 12 assists for the club. He was instrumental as he helped the Uganda Cranes qualify for the CHAN finals as well as win the CECAFA Championship in December 2019.
Gift Ali also made the list together with Wakiso Giant’s Vianne Ssekajugo, Kyetume goalkeeper Joel Mutakubwa and SC Villa defender Derrick Ndahiro – another left back on the list.
Striker Steven Mukwala who topped scoring charts last season with 13 goals while on loan at Maroons FC makes it. But there is no room for Police’s Ben Ocen who finished with 12 league goals last season.
Defender Nicolas Wadada who was voted the best defender in the Tanzanian Premier League also receives a nomination.
URA midfield duo Shafik ‘Kuchi’ Kagimu and Saidi Kyeyune are also on the list so is Edrisa Lubega who has been in blistering form since he joined Estonian top division side Paide Linnameeskond.
The award authentically recognises the best performing Ugandan football players both on the local scene and in the diaspora for the period starting December – November every year.
The shortlist was drawn by a selected team of Uganda’s top 10 journalists. This team which has been carefully selected helps the Awards Committee draw up nominees with the initial phase consisting of 15 players who will be later reduced to ten and finally five.
Public voting for the winner of the award from the final five nominees will be opened on October 1, 2020, on the Football256 website.
The winner of the 256FOTY award for the year 2020 will be announced on November 18, 2020.
The full 15-man shortlist for the 256 FOTY Award:
Shafik Kagimu (URA FC), Timothy Awany (FC Ashdod), Kizito Luwagga (Hapoel Kfabar Saba), Vianne Ssekajugo (Wakiso Giants), Joel Mutakubwa (Kyetume FC), Derrick Ndahiro (SC Villa), Dennis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns), Edrisa Lubega (Paide Linnameeskond), Fahad Bayo (Vipers SC/FC Ashdod), Mustafa Kizza (KCCA FC), Steven Mukwala (Maroons FC), Farouk Miya (FC Konyaspor), Gift Ali (KCCA FC), Saidi Kyeyune (URA FC), Nicholas Wadada (Azam FC)