Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
FOOTBALL fans have tipped talented FC Platinum defender, Kevin Moyo, to be crowned the 48th Soccer Star of the Year at a banquet to honour outstanding players in Harare tonight.
If Moyo lands the gong, he will become the third defender in the Premier Soccer League’s history to win the prestigious individual award after former Highlanders’ star defender Dazy Kapenya in 2002 and reigning Soccer Star of the Year Caps United defender, Hardlife Zvirekwi.
The soccer star award has largely been dominated by midfielders and strikers since its inception in 1969 when it was first lifted by the legendary George Shaya.
Solid on the ground and in the air, complemented by tackling accuracy as well as tactically calculated overlapping, Moyo, who plays alongside his twin brother Elvis, held fort the FC Platinum central defence partnering skipper Gift Bello.
He is among the 11 Soccer Stars of the Year finalists chosen by a panel of coaches, captains and sports journalists last week after the Zvishavane-based outfit wrote its own piece of history by landing the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title, and in the process ending the dominance of Harare and Bulawayo-based teams.
For a defender, Moyo rarely picks up arguments with opponents and officials, but plays clean football and that’s probably the reason fans believe he will be the man tonight.
Unlike the previous selection methods whereby a player with the highest individual votes automatically became the Soccer Star, panelists now separately vote for the Soccer Star and his two runners-up as well as the Goalkeeper of the Year.
Chicken Inn shot stopper, Elvis Chipezeze, who kept an incredible 19 clean sheets, is almost a given to clinch the keepers’ accolade.
“Kevin Moyo is my Soccer Star of the Year, while the best goalie was Elvis Chipezeze,” said staunch Highlanders fan Innocent ‘Bra Nox’ Mikazhu.
Timothy “Snr Balo” Moyo also felt Kevin should come out tops, with first runner-up going to Dynamos’ skipper Ocean Mushure and Ngezi Platinum’s Tichaona Mabvura taking the second runner-up spot.
“The Soccer Star of the Year should be Kevin Moyo, Rodwell Chinyengetere the first runner-up and Mushure the second runner-up,” said Artson Muhenyeri. Bekithemba Ntshangase settled for Moyo, Chinyengetere and Caps United’s Devon Chafa, while Mudhara Munhumumwe has his vote on FC Platinum’s Moyo.
South African-based journalist, Sibhekisipho Fayayo settled for Moyo, Chafa and Chinyengetere as his top three players on the domestic scene, while Chipezeze gets the best glovesman award.
The awards night will be graced by the who is who of local football, while the legendary Peter Ndlovu, who bagged the award in 1990 and 1991, will be the guest of honour, as the PSL continues honouring legends of the game. Last year’s guest of honour was former Zimbabwe Saints and Warriors’ skipper, Ephraim Chawanda, the 1988 Soccer Star of the Year.
Tonight’s ceremony will also award the best referee in a contest likely to be between Normore Musundire and Ruzive Ruzive. The league’s best Under-20 rookie will also be unveiled and the battle is between Yadah FC’s Leeroy Mavunga and Bosso’s Bukhosi Ncube.
Former Highlanders’ striker Prince Dube, who has since joined SuperSport in the Absa Premiership, was the 2016 Rookie of the Year.
2017 Soccer Stars of the Year finalists
Christian Epoupa, Ocean Mushure, Devon Chafa, Dominic Chungwa, Terrence Dzukamanja, Qadr Amini, Tichaona Mabvura, Kevin Moyo, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Clemence Matawu, Moses Jackson. — @skhumoyo2000