Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
FOOTBALL fans have sharply criticised the 2017 Soccer Stars of the Year selectors’ choices that saw no goalkeeper making it into the final 11 for the first time in the history of the process.
Leading the outcry is respected broadcaster and veteran soccer commentator Charles Mabika, who is also Zimbabwe’s representative in the voting panel for the Fifa Player of the Year, the Ballon d’Or.
“I must be honest with you that I am a bit disappointed that the panellists could not have just one outstanding goalkeeper in the final 11, which is a first in the history of the Zimbabwe Soccer Stars of the Year selection process. In my opinion, I feel Chicken Inn’s Elvis Chipezeze should have made the cut, but look, that is the choice of the panellists and I am not one of them,” said Mabika.
Chicken Inn’s ageless Clemence Matawu joins the legendary George Shaya and Sunday Chidzambwa by making it six times among the stars.
It was also the first time in the modern day Premiership that Bulawayo giants Highlanders failed to proved a player on the stars’ list.
Below are some fans’ responses:
Butho Bhebhe: Personally I thought Bukhosi Sibanda (formerly Bantu Rovers) did well before he left for South Africa to deserve a place in that line-up. He has suffered the same fate as Bruce (Kangwa). Simon Munawa also did well as a midfielder; he competed for goals with strikers like (Christian) Epoupa, whom I think wasn’t supposed to be selected.
Herman Tshuma: Lot Chiwunga had a good run at Black Rhinos. I thought his place in the final 11 was guaranteed until I saw the final list. Moses Jackson should be the Soccer Star of the Year.
Taboniswa Ncube: I’m surprised there is no goalkeeper among the stars. Does that mean there is no goalkeeper who excelled above the rest this season?
Thabani Ncube: So these guys are saying not even one goalie excelled this season? This kind of selection makes the whole process a farce. In other words there were no goalkeepers this past season, shame on you selectors.
Nkosi Khabo: It is rather surprising that a first XI would miss a goalkeeper. Are we saying the goalkeepers were that bad?
Tawanda Ruzive: Even if they (goalkeepers) were all bad, there is a better one somehow. It’s a mistake to leave out a goalkeeper. Every department has to be represented.
Sikhumbuzo Ndebele: The player you omitted wears a different colour jersey, so you can see them. The referee can’t start a match without being given the green light by these players. When injured, the game stops. Regardless of play position, they are allowed to use every portion of their anatomy during the game. They have exclusive territories marked for their jurisprudence; they protect the goals, they can wear extra wear like gloves and head gear etc.
So can a respectable journo tell me how he/she omitted such an athlete?
That list ceases to be a football list, but serves as an 11 sports personality list. Only when there is a goalie does it become a soccer stars list.
Faith Silandulo Dube: Did we have blunt strikers and attacking midfielders? One can argue that goalkeepers were exceptional. They deserved recognition.
Shady Dalolo Kutsanzira: Kudos to Matawu for featuring again. Players of his age should take a leaf from him, as he has defied age. Well done to Kevin Moyo and Rody Chinyengetere as well, but I felt Chipezeze deserved recognition as well; not forgetting Innocent Mucheneka, who was instrumental in matches Chicken Inn won. Wallace Magalane should also have been recognised. It’s high time goalkeepers are recognised.
Ezra Tshisa Sibanda: How do you have 11 best players without a goalkeeper and a few defenders? Best players should be selected in each position to come out with a team; that’s why you select 11 players, not 11 strikers. It’s laughable what you guys did, so it means you can’t even organise a game against these Soccer Stars of the Year; pathetic!
Mxolisi Ncube: This is a pathetic selection. How can a team be position-heavy like this and omit a goalkeeper? Next time real sports reporters should be allowed to do the selection, not just people who watch games and then minute the proceedings. Reminds me of some year when we had three goalkeepers among the 11 soccer stars.
Godwin Bukhosi Mlotshwa: Each team played 34 matches; the top goal scorer only netted 17 goals and still no goalkeeper selected. Lot Chiwunga did better than Epoupa
Moyo Snr Balo Timothy: I think Chipezeze deserved a place.
2017 Soccer Stars of the Year finalists
Clemence Matawu, Moses Jackson (Chicken Inn); Devon Chafa, Dominic Chungwa (Caps United); Christian Epoupa, Ocean Mushure (Dynamos); Kelvin Moyo, Rodwell Chinyengetere (FC Platinum); Qadr Amini, Tichaona Mabvura, Terrence Dzvukamanja (Ngezi Platinum Stars).