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Who are the Soccer Stars?

29 Nov 2015 at 06:58hrs | Views
CONTROVERSY and the Soccer Stars of the Year selection process are like Siamese twins.

As a panel comprising journalists, club coaches and their captains get ready to meet in Harare tomorrow morning to select this year's finest players, there is expectation that newly crowned league champions Chicken Inn will provide the Soccer Star of the Year.

Since 2008 when Evans Chikwaikwai, then with the now defunct Njube Sundowns, controversially won the big one ahead of Edward Sadomba, no Bulawayo team has given Zimbabwe the football king.

Rahmson Zhuwawo won it with Gunners in 2009, Charles Sibanda succeeded him in Motor Action colours before Dynamos dominated between 2011 and 2013 with Washington Arubi, Denver Mukamba and Tawanda Muparati.

ZPC Kariba defender Dennis Dauda sits on the throne that he is sure to vacate on Friday night when the 2015 Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year is announced.

While it's difficult to second guess how the selection process will unfold, Chicken Inn skipper Danny "Deco" Phiri is the odds on favourite to land the top accolade.

An outcry is highly unlikely should Phiri inherit the throne from Dauda.

In a season they turned on the style, Chicken Inn are likely to have more than one of their own on the calendar.

Centre back Lawrence Mhlanga and the club's leading scorer Edmore Chirambadare have been impressive while veteran Clement Matawu could gatecrash the party – 10 years after he won the award with Motor Action.

Chirambadare has banged 11 goals, and at one time led the scorers' charts before he was finally dislodged by Knox Mutizwa of Highlanders.

The Bosso forward is also expected to make the cut.

FC Platinum have by far exhibited the most exciting brand of football and it was no mistake they were in the title push until Match Day 29.

Their top scorer Brian Muzondiwa, with 9 goals, has lived up to his top billing with some lively shows for Pure Platinum Play while Gift Bello was resolute at the heart of defence.

Although defensive midfielder Gerald Takwara shone more in Young Warriors colours during the first half of the season, the former Tsholotsho grafter put up top drawer performances since his move to Zvishavane.

He went on to become a permanent fixture in Norman Mapeza's swashbuckling side and should have a decent shout for a place among the best.Outgoing champions Dynamos did not have the best of seasons by their tradition but in Ocean Mushure and goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva, they have two of 2015's best performers.In typical Kelvin Kaindu style, Triangle got off to a blistering start, with the likes of Hillary Bakacheza, Lameck Nhamo, Pascal Manhanga and Tichaona Chipunza on point.As the season progressed, not only did Triangle fizzle out of the race but their players' spirits also waned.Only attacker Bakacheza continued to sparkle for the Sugar Boys.

Caps United's defensive pillar Stephen Makatuka had a stellar season for Makepekepe, marshalling a rearguard that only conceded 22 goals.

He was rewarded with a Warriors call in the CHAN qualifiers and should be confident of capping a fruitful year with a place on the famed Soccer Stars calendar.

Harare City defender Themba Ndlovu, who featured in all of the Sunshine Boys' matches, could retain his place on the calendar after putting on a flawless act.Teammate William Manondo, the club's leading light and a key figure in

Harare City's success in the Chibuku Super Cup, is also in with a decent chance. Chapungu had a commendable season, having done very little business on the transfer market.

Their chief striker Tinei Chitora, who weighed in with a couple of vital goals, had a good season but it remains to be seen if the panel will cast their eyes on the so-called small teams.Likewise, should selectors not be swayed by the appeal of traditional giants, then unheralded Tsholotsho defensive linkman Butholezwe Ncube, relegated Flame Lily's overlapping right back and skipper Gift Phiri could have chances to sneak in.

The race for the Coach of the Year is undoubtedly between championship winner Joey "Mafero" Antipas and Norman "Nomara" Mapeza.

This should be too close to call.

Underachievers

Dennis Dauda, Limited Chikafa (ZPC Kariba), Munyaradzi Diya, Kuda Musharu, Charles Sibanda, Timothy January (How Mine), Tendai Samanja, Nicholas Alifandika (Harare City), Artwell Mukandi, Kelvin Bulaji (Dynamos), Gabriel Nyoni (Highlanders) – coach Luke "Vahombe" Masomere assisted by Bongani Mafu.

Midseason movers who could have made it
Tino Kadewere (Harare City to FC Djugarderns, Sweden), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Caps United to Hobro IK, Denmark), Wisdom Mutasa, (FC Platinum to FK Senica, Czech Republic), Thabani Kamusoko (FC Platinum to Young African, Tanzania), Liberty Chakoroma (Buffaloes to Free State Stars, South Africa), Evans Rusike (Hwange to Maritzburg, South Africa).

Sports Reporters
THE selection of the Soccer Stars of the Year will continue to be shrouded in secrecy as the Premier Soccer League and their sponsors, Delta Beverages, have resisted calls to reveal the panelists' choices.In an era when even votes for the Fifa Ballon d'Or – the ultimate individual prize in world football are made public – the PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele has a funny explanation on why Zimbabwe is swimming against international trends."Sometimes we do not have to copy and paste everything that is done internationally. Here in Zimbabwe we have people who are so deeply passionate with the game to an extent that they will take things personally," he said with a straight face.

"We do not want a situation where a journalist or coach will receive threats or is assaulted simply because he didn't vote for a player from a certain club.

"We still have fans who manhandle or throw missiles at a referee because he has awarded a corner kick, imagine what will happen if we are to publish such sensitive information? For now, let's keep it as it is. We can't have it 100 percent perfect but it is good to retain this secrecy."The veil on the voting process will give some panelists, who seem to vote wearing their favourite team's badge, another chance to throw ethics into the dustbin.Last year saw ZPC Kariba walking away with the top three player accolades as well as the coach of the year gong amid claims that journalists from a certain part of the country did not want any Dynamos man among the top three, hence the shocking results.

The nation awaits to see how tomorrow's voting process will unfold.

Source - sundaymail
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