Rodwell Chinyengetere

Who will be soccer star of the year

Fungai Muderere
CAPS United skipper and former Soccer Star of the Year, Hardlife Zvirekwi is tipping FC Platinum duo of Rodwell Chinyengetere and Kelvin Moyo for the local elite football league’s top gong.

The two players were last Thursday for the second consecutive year selected among 11 Soccer Stars of the Year.

Nicknamed Roma Chinyengetere, is the country’s reigning Soccer Star of the Year  and last year he fought off a close challenge from his teammate, Moyo for the top gong.

In different spheres, local football enthusiasts, coaches and players have for the past weeks been discussing who will be deemed to have shined in the country’s elite football league.

The biggest question is: Who will land the top gong?

“I’m tipping Rodwell Chinyengetere, Kelvin Moyo and Ariel Sibanda for top Soccer Stars award. They played their hearts out for their respective clubs,” said Zvirekwi.

Bulawayo City captain Zibusioso “Mzimara” Sibanda, who was among the panel of Soccer Stars selectors last week said: “Can I say this without angering other people. Rodwell Chinyengetere of FC Platinum was a cut above the rest this season.”

Highlanders FC assistant coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu also did not mince his words tipping Moyo to land this year’s Soccer Star of the Year Award.

“Things being equal, Moyo deserves the country’s top football award. He is my Soccer Star of Year. The boy is a complete player. He is a fighter and a dedicated team player,” said Mpofu who once worked with Moyo during his days as Bantu Rovers.

Just like in the previous year, the voting process moved along with technology by using a secret computerised electronic ballot.

The electronic voting system was supervised by a panel of experts that included media house sports editors, football stakeholders as well as Delta Beverages internal and external audit firms.

The Soccer Star of the Year and his two runners-up will be unveiled in Harare on Friday night at a special banquet to be hosted by the league sponsors Delta Beverages.

Besides the best 11 players, the Coach of the Year and Referee of the Year will also be unveiled on the same night.

There will also be prizes for Best Under-20, Goalkeeper of the Year, the Most Disciplined Team of the Year and the Golden Boot among others.

This year’s Golden Boot Award has already been grabbed by Chinyengetere who banged a massive 17 goals for Pure Platinum Play and the player is on the verge of achieving something the modern day Zimbabwean footballers have failed to accomplish, that is to be crowned Soccer Star of the Year on two consecutive seasons.

There seems to be no doubt that the former Hwange captain is the front runner for the award.

Since the Premier Soccer League came into being in 1993, no player has won back-to-back the Soccer Star of the Year award.

This has been due to players fizzling out the following season or leaving the country for greener pastures.

George Shaya was the first player to win the award more than once uninterrupted. The Dynamos legend was the Soccer Star of the Year in 1975, 1976 and 1977 having won it in 1969 as well as 1972.

Former Warriors skipper Peter Ndlovu was also voted the top player in the domestic league twice in a row. In 1990, Ndlovu shared the award with George Nechironga of Caps United with “Nsukuzonke” winning it outright the following year.

Should Chinyengetere go on to be crowned Soccer Star of the Year on Friday, it would be a wonderful achievement for the 30-year-old. His career appeared to be over in 2012 when he suffered a horrific leg injury while turning out for Hwange after colliding with Monomotapa goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi in a league match at Rufaro Stadium.

Chinyengetere had an operation and had to play with a pin on his leg which was removed in 2016.

South African Premiership side Baroka announced last Friday that they had signed Chinyengetere, a clear indication of how outstanding he has been in 2018.