The winger was nominated for the second time in Japan for the prize but it was the former Gunner who eventually emerged as the winner
Ex-Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen beat Kenya international Ayub Timbe to Vissel Kobe’s Player of the Month Award for May.
The J1 League outfit confirmed the former Arsenal star as the winner on Thursday after he struck to earn the side a 1-1 draw in the 96th minute against Cerezo Osaka in May. Timbe, who has found his footing in the Japanese league and has become a regular first-teamer for Vissel Kobe, assisted Vermaelen to score the all-important goal.
The former Beijing Renhe forward had also scored a brace against Tokushima Vortis in a Cup encounter in May but could not be elected the winner of the monthly award. Other contestants for the award were Hotari Yamaguchi and Douglas of Brazil. The Brazilian had found the back of the net in a league game against Sagan Tosu which ended in a 1-1 draw.
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In April, Timbe was nominated for the award which he unsuccessfully vied for too.
The winger joined the J1 League after he could not break into the Reading first team in the Championship last year. He then returned to Beijing Renhe but left thereafter, paving the way for his move to Japan.
After Michael Olunga, who made his name at Kashiwa Reysol, Timbe is Kenya’s second high-profile star to play in the Far East. Olunga won the Golden Boot in the 2020 J1 League season after netting 28 goals in 32 games and went ahead to lift the Most Valuable Player award, becoming the first African to do so in Japan.
The former Thika United and Tusker forward has since left for Al-Duhail of Qatar and his performances in the Far East are expected to place considerable pressure on Timbe.
Timbe, who has played for a number of clubs across continents, is facing high expectations at Vissel Kobe, especially after the performance of his international teammate Olunga.
At Beijing Renhe, a club he joined in February 2017, he scored eight goals in the maiden season with them and helped the club earn promotion to the Chinese Super League.
With his form picking up, many supporters of the national team Harambee Stars will wait to see whether head coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee will summon him for the World Cup qualifiers later in the year.