Hienghene striker Bertrand Kai and Qanono striker Patrick Wajoka were inseparable with both earning 22.38 per cent of the public’s votes made via the website of the national newspaper, Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes.
The award was handed out at the first ever Football Oscars, organised by the Federation Caledonienne de Football in conjunction with the newspaper to reward the standout figures of 2012.
The duo just edged out a third Super Ligue striker, Cédric Moagou, who earned 21.39 per cent of votes – showing spectators were keen to reward a season of beautiful goals.
Kai has been a standout for both club and country, earning him the title of 2011 OFC Player of the Year as well as finishing the season as top scorer in the Super Ligue for the first time with 22 goals to his name.
Meanwhile, 34-year-old Wajoka spent the season proving age is no barrier to quality finishing, netting 12 goals in 18 matches.
In the other categories, a panel composed of coaches from the Super Ligue and second division, as well as members of the FCF technical department and executive committee, all voted, as did the FCF media advisor and a sports journalist from Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes.
Rocky Nyikeine, having already earned the title of best goalkeeper at the 2012 OFC Nations Cup in the Solomon Islands with performances that helped his side all the way to the final, was firm favourite to take Hope of the Year.
In the end the Gaïtcha keeper just managed to slip through and take the title ahead of Cédric Décoiré of Mont Dore with 14 votes to 12.
The race for Coach of the Year was another close one, with the final word eventually going to Alain Moizan, coach of Les Cagous and 2012 Super Ligue victors Magenta.
Moizan won over fellow nominee Thierry Sardo, his national deputy and coach of Coupe de Calédonie winners Lössi, Michel Clarque of Hienghene and Pierre Wajoka of Gaitcha.
Les Cagous coach took the opportunity to reiterate his regrets at the side’s loss to Tahiti in the Nations Cup final.
He also stressed the importance of the signings of Georges Gope-Fenepej and César Lolohea with professional clubs in France.
“Their progression should pave the way for other Calédonian footballers,” Moizan says.
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