Crowning moment for soccer stars
Nkosilathi Sibanda, [email protected]
THE crowning ceremony of the country’s best footballer is in Harare tonight and the million dollar question is who will lift the crown.
The top 11 footballers were chosen on Tuesday and will gather expectant of a surprise announcement among the top three.
Among the names, touted as front runners are Ngezi Platinum captain Qadr Amin, his team mate Takunda Benhura, Bulawayo Chiefs’ Obriel Chirinda and Tanaka Shandirwa the Dynamos midfielder.
These players were outstanding in their respective teams and it will not be a surprise if “dark horses” emerge and scoop it. In a lacklustre season the panellists struggled for the 11, making the competition tight. Even for the top three selectors endured a torrid time in finalising their choice.
The panel of selectors was composed of sports journalists, team captains and coaches.
Ngezi Platinum Stars players have all it takes to grab the top accolades. Amin, having led the league champions, stands a great chance of being among the top three.
Equally so, Benhura who is the top goal scorer, having netted 13, contends as well. He already has the Golden Boot award, which puts him in good stead.
Chirinda with his game that got him to score 11 goals is a clear contender for the three slots. No doubt he was in most of the selectors’ list. The Amakhosi Amahle player became a darling to many that watched him.
At the banquet, another surprise announcement will be the Most Promising Player award. This is reserved for players under the age of 20. This is one category that has no immediate guess. Every team had as many of these youngsters but not all were picked by coaches, which spelt doom on their prospects to be identified.
It could go to Dynamos’ Junior Makunike or Hwange’s Tendai Mavuti. That prediction can go wrong, given that there were others elsewhere whose exploits are worth mentioning.
The Goalkeeper of the Year will be announced too. Highlanders’ captain Ariel Sibanda had 19 clean sheets which in all fairness makes him a rightful receiver for the award and if not for the spectacular Bosso collapse in the second-half of the season, he could have tipped over 23 clean sheets. Nelson Chadya the Ngezi Platinum Stars’ goalie had a record 18 clean sheets.
The Referee of the Year will be announced as well and Brighton Chimene and Mhaka Magare are favourites.
Highlanders has two players in Ariel Sibanda and Andrew Mbeba.
Sibanda returns to the podium for the fourth time.
Harare giants Dynamos also have two, Donald Mudadi and Shandirwa. Champions, Ngezi Platinum Stars deservedly have three in Benhura, Chadya and Amin.
The rest are surprise inclusion Tinotenda Benza (Herentals), Michael Charamba (Chicken Inn), Fortune Binzi (Manica Diamonds) and Chirinda (Bulawayo Chiefs).
The one who will be crowned tonight will be counted among the best to emerge in the country. He will join in the hall of fame that has yesteryear greats such as Peter Ndlovu, Japhet Mparutsa, Stanley Ndunduma, Moses Chunga, Ephert Lungu, Mercedes Sibanda, Ephraim Chawanda, Agent Sawu, Tauya Murewa, Zenzo Moyo, Dazzy Kapenya, George Shaya, Walter Chuma, Stewart Murisa, Moses Moyo and George Rollo. — @NkosieLegend