Gor Mahia manager Jose “Ze Maria” Marcelo Ferreira was awarded the first Fidelity Insurance Coach of the Month award of the season on Wednesday. The Sports Journalists Association of Kenya Football Commission awarded Ze Maria the honor unanimously following a perfect March record, which consisted of a 3-1 victory over the Kariobangi Sharks and a 1-0 victory over Zoo Kericho. Other candidates for the first Coach of the Month award included Bernard Mwalala of Nzoia United, Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo of Posta Ranger, Paul Nkata of Bandari and Francis Kimanzi of Mathare United.
Ze Maria, who came over to the Kenyan Premier League from Brazil, won the award once last season, and he expressed his appreciation gracefully in the trophy presentation at the team’s practice facility in Nairobi. “My players did it in those two games; it’s not me, so I dedicate it to them for a job well done. I am happy because they did well and we have to continue this way. We began the season by winning a trophy and we want to win the other remaining three ahead of us,” Ze Maria said in his acceptance speech.
Some critics may point to both Gor Mahia opponents being recent promotees from lower leagues and not ready for the big time, but others point to Ze Maria’s excellent turn around of the team. The club’s preseason performance was horrible, as they lost all five games. However, Ze Maria got them prepared for the regular season, and his coaching efforts appear to have paid off. His team is currently in the top spot of the Kenyan Premier League with 12 points, only recording one loss in five games played so far this season. Their next match will be against Tusker FC, who are the defending league champions. Gor Mahia is looking for revenge after losing to Tusker twice last season.