It’s D-Day for Premier Soccer League players as a panel of sportswriters converge in Kwekwe this morning to select the crème de la crème of local football.
From the list, the panel will then select the best of the best, the Soccer Star of the Year and the first and second runner-ups, whose names will be announced at a banquet whose date is yet to be announced.
The coach and referee of the year will also be selected on Saturday, but will be made public at the banquet.
Sports Writers Association of Zimbabwe (SWAZ) chairperson Wellington Nyoni confirmed the banquet to select the players will be held at a local hotel in Kwekwe.
The major criterion remains unchanged: a player with three upheld red cards or seven yellow cards is disqualified.
Last year, then Gunners skipper Ramson Zhuwawo scooped the top prize after guiding the ambitious Harare club to their maiden championship.
Former Dynamos gunman Cuthbert Malajila and Nyasha Mushekwi flanked him at the podium after they were named the first and second runners-up respectively.
Players like Ashley Rambanapasi, Edmore Sibanda, Benjamin Marere, Washington Arubi and Daniel Vheremu tried their best for their clubs and the Warriors but the Asiagate match-fixing scandal that is hovering above their heads could work against their favor.
However, a player who is certain to miss the selection despite playing his heart out for his team is former Shabanie skipper Lennon Chisunga who assaulted sports journalist Thandiwe Moyo, while Arubi is accused of lifting his middle finger to Highlanders supporters during a BancABC semi-final match against Dynamos on August 21.
Charles Sibanda, captain Bhekimpilo Ncube and Allan Gahadzikwa have been instrumental for Motor Action’s charge to the championship this season.
Highlanders are also certain to have youth sensation Joel “Josta” Ngodzo, his brother Zephania, ageless Mernard Mupera and goalkeeper Arial Sibanda up for selection. Gunners’ Qadr Amini, evergreen Ali Sadiki and Norman Maroto will be hard to ignore while Denver Mukamba and Martin Vengesai have been influential for free flowing Kiglon.
Big goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda has scored five goals for Caps United from outfield play, a rare feat by any goalkeeper. Caps United captain Nyasha Mukumbi and pint-sized Pride Tafirenyika will try to bulldoze their way onto the list.
Young Raphael Manuvire from Douglas Warriors, Eagles’ Conrad Witby and Fortune Ncube of Hwange will also be knocking hard on the doors.
Joey Antipas will be the favourite to claim the coach of the year award.