Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year panelists made up of sports journalists, team captains and coaches will converge in Harare later this month to select the outstanding footballers in the 2018 season.
Two Matchdays are left before the curtain comes down on the domestic league, with the FC Platinum having successfully defended their title.
Just like last season, the champions are expected to provide the best player of the season.
Reigning Soccer Star of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere leads the scorers charts with 16 goals and looks set to retain the coveted title.
Some of Chinyengetere’s FC Platinum teammates who have been consistent performers but were overshadowed by the prolific striker because of his goal scoring prowess include defensive midfielder Winston Mhango who played all the 32 league games for the platinum miners.
Mhango lacks charisma but has been a vital cog for FC Platinum, with his ability to break opposition raids and provide cover for defenders key in the champions’ campaign.
Defender Kevin Moyo looks set to return to the calendar following a stellar season at the home of champions. FC Platinum’s pre-season additions; winger Rahman Kutsanzira and central midfielder Edwin Farai Madanhanga are some of the players that deserve a shot at the calendar.
Ngezi Platinum Stars, who gave FC Platinum a run for their money before running out of steam, are likely to have midfielder Michael Charamba and former striker Terrence Dzukamanja who moved to South Africa’s Bidvest Wits during the midseason transfer window.
Ngezi skipper Liberty Chakoroma, who assaulted a match official after their Chibuku Super Cup exit, has been ruled out of selection.
FC Platinum target, Triangle United striker Lameck Nhamo, Chicken Inn’s pair of midfielder Innocent Mucheneka and Obriel Chirinda have also had a good season.
The Green Machine, Caps United had striker John Zhuwawo starting the season on fire but fizzled out as league action got hot.
The midfield pair of Joel Ngodzo and Dominic Mukandi have been regular starters for Caps United and appeared to carry their team.
Rebuilding Bulawayo giants Highlanders have the quartet of combative midfielder Adrian Silla, right back McClive Phiri, winger Gabriel Nyoni and goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda who kept 15 clean sheets among players that can be considered for the stars calendar.
Giant killers Bulawayo Chiefs’ most outstanding players were central midfielder Gracious Muleya, playmaker Perfect Chikwende and defender Shadreck Nyahwa who is also in the running for the Rookie of the Year accolade.