Ricky Zililo Senior Sports Reporter—
SOCCER Star of the Year favourite Knox Mutizwa is the top goal-scorer of the 2015 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League following the end of the season on Saturday. Mutizwa scored 14 goals from 17 starts, two ahead of Caps United’s Dominic Chungwa who scored a brace against Whawha at the National Sports Stadium as Makepekepe registered a 3-1 victory.
The Highlanders striker, who missed most of his team’s opening matches of the season after suffering burns, said his teammates played a big role in him joining the country’s elite list of top scorers.
“I’m grateful to the living God who made it possible for me to win this award. I also want to thank my teammates, the coaches, the club management, my family and above all the supporters who rallied behind me throughout the season.
“What makes me happy is that I only played 17 matches and managed to be the top goal scorer. I think had I played all the games I could have surpassed the 20-goal mark taking into consideration my game scoring ratio,” said Mutizwa.
The Bosso forward, who used to play as a wide midfielder before former gaffer Bongani Mafu decided to turn him into his preferred central striker role when he returned from injury, surpassed last season’s joint top goal scorers Charles Sibanda and Kuda Musharu who shared the prize after banging in 13 goals in 30 games.
The 2014 season’s goals happened to be the lowest recorded by a Golden Boot winner in a decade. The least goals netted by the country’s top marksman had previously been held by Dynamos’ Roderick Mutuma who scored 14 times in 2011.
The last person to walk away with the once coveted Top Goal Scorer of the Year award having surpassed the 20-goal mark is Norman Maroto who had 22 goals in 2010. Then, the former Dynamos striker was playing for Gunners.
Dongo Sawmill captain Evans Chikwaikwai holds a record for being the most prolific forward since 2000 after scoring 23 goals for Njube Sundowns in 2008.
Other players who have managed to score above 20 goals since 2000 include former Bosso forward Zenzo Moyo in 2001 and ex-Caps United striker Nyasha Mushekwi in 2009. Moyo scored 21 goals for Bosso while Mushekwi also had 21 goals to his account.
Nelson Mazivisa, then playing for Shabanie Mine and Tendai Ndoro, formerly with Chicken Inn respectively, won the 2012 and 2014 Golden Boot award with identical 18 goals.
Mutizwa is confident of improving on his scoring abilities. “Winning this award will make me work even harder. My wish is to be a constant scorer and that’s very much possible.
“Hopefully getting this recognition will open new avenues in terms of career advancement. I know an opportunity to play outside the country could arise after this,” said Mutizwa.
The national team striker is among the players who are in the running for the Soccer Star of the Year accolade. Selection of the 2015 Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year will be done this morning in Harare. Coaches, captains and members of the media will electronically cast their votes for the outstanding 2015 players.
Delta Beverages have maintained last year’s prizes with the winner of the top accolade set to walk away with $5,000 while the runners-up get $3,000 and $2,000 respectively. The 11 finalists will each pocket $1,000.
Mutizwa is likely to face a stiff challenge for the Soccer Star of the Year award from Chicken Inn’s duo of captain Danny “Deco” Phiri and Edmore Chirambadare as well as ZPC Kariba’s Raphael Manuvire, among others.
One player who might find himself among the country’s best 11 players is former Soccer Star of the Year Clemence Matawu who had a good season for Chicken Inn whom he inspired to lift the PSL title. Other players that are likely to make it into the Soccer Stars’ calendar include FC Platinum’s duo of Kevin Moyo and Brian Muzondiwa, Stephen Makatuka of Caps United, ZPC Kariba’s Raphael Manuvire, Dynamos’ goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva and Hillary Bakacheza of Triangle.