Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones is the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation’s nominee for the 2007 First Citizen’s Bank Sportsman of the Year Award.
The 23-year-old striker, as a result of the nomination, is the T&TFF’s 2007 “Player of the Year” and he now follows current Sunderland teammate Dwight Yorke who was named the 2006 “Player of the Year”.
The TTFF’s female “Player of the Year” is Avanell Isaac of Joe Public Football Club
The 17-year-old Isaac is a member of the Trinidad and Tobago’s Women’s Olympic Team that is preparing the upcoming final round of qualification in CONCACAF. She was instrumental in T&T’s success in the preliminary stages. She was the T&T Women’s League “MVP” for the 2007 season.
TTFF President Oliver Camps stated, “We feel very proudly about the exploits of Kenwyne and Avanell and they were definitely fitting selections for these awards. They have demonstrated the key characteristics of progressive sporting personalities and what is remarkable too is that they are doing this at what can be considered young ages. I think they are fine examples for the rest of our aspiring athletes, particularly in the sport of football.”
Jones experienced undoubtedly one of the most successful years in his professional career in 2007 and was top of the list among T&T’s professional footballers, putting himself alongside Dwight Yorke as one of the highly rated strikers from Trinidad and Tobago to play in the English Premiership.
On 29 August 2007 it was confirmed that he had joined Sunderland in a deal valued at £6 million with Stern John moving to Southampton. He made his debut for Sunderland on September 1 in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, scoring his first goal in the 2-1 home win over Reading two weeks later.
In early November Jones was linked with a £12m player move to Liverpool FC with Peter Crouch moving to Wearside. By November 2007, Jones had already netted four goals in seven appearances for Sunderland.
On December 21, Jones, a prominent member of the Trinidad and Tobago team at the 2006 World Cup, was again linked with high profile clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool about a possible move, but Sunderland manager Roy Keane insisted that he would be going nowhere. Keane, in 2007, signed Jones following his explosiveness as a striker for Southampton and after high recommendation from Yorke.
Upon hearing that he had been given the nod as the “Player of the Year” Jones was somewhat surprise but elated too.
“First of all it’s extremely nice and I feel honoured to be the Trinidad and Tobago Footballer of the Year. A lot of big names have won this before and I never really thought about something like this happening to me. It’s also a good feeling to be alongside the other top sportsmen in the country at the Awards Ceremony and hopefully, who knows. Maybe I go on to cop it,” Jones told TTFF Media on Tuesday.
Looking back at the year 2007, Jones described it as his best year as a professional.
“Every year should be better than the previous. It was alright for me in 2006 ad 2007 was even better so I felt good about that and hopefully this year will be even better. I want to be able to go from strength to strength and become a better player and person,” Jones added.
“I must that the country and the authorities for believing in me and showing this kind of support and hopefully I can repay by doing the best I can on the football field and help the country achieve great things. Qualifying for the next World Cup in South Africa is obviously one of the aims now,” he continued. (Shaun Fuentes, Jan 22, 2007)