Football writers and commentators across the country will meet, as usual, when the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League this month to select the best 11 players of the year, coach and referee.
The focus, as always, will be on the 11 best players and there is no doubt that like in preceding years, there will be tensions with application of rules and the quality of players.
Without trying to sway the thinking of those who will vote, the question is: Is there any striker who deserves to be on the calendar this year?
Last season’s top scorer Norman Maroto had 14, a far cry from Moses Chunga’s record 46 or Rahman Gumbo’s 22 some years back.
For Dynamos, their multitude of fans will argue leading scorer Rodreck Mutuma, with 12 goals in 27 matches, must feature on the calendar. Former Caps United striker Simba Sithole scored 10 times in 10 matches and it took almost 15 games for any other striker to catch up with him.
It was all evident from the first week of the championship race when 20 goals were scored in the season opener, with eight of the goals coming from the Caps United-Zimbabwe Saints’ match which the former won 5-3. This meant the other seven games produced just 12 goals.
The second week produced 19 goals, the third 16. There were two goalless draws. The fourth had 15 goals and produced a goalless draw and two 1-1 ties.
Week five and six each had 21 goals, but that run went down in the next four rounds of matches that produced 15, 16, 12 and 19 goals respectively and had three goalless draws, five 1-1 draws and one 2-2 tie.
Weeks 11 to 15 were equally pathetic — 18 in weeks 11, 12 and 14, 13 in week 13 and just 11 in week 15. In those five weeks, there were nine goalless draws as strikers seemingly connived to miss every given chance.
Perhaps then defenders, midfielders and goalkeepers were doing pretty well and one could be forgiven to suggest that FC Platinum’s Tafadzwa Dube, Motor Action’s Marlon Jani and Dynamos’ Washington Arubi should make the cut come selection day.
Or perhaps, midfielders Mernard Mupera, Milton Makopa, Ali Sadiki, David Rediyoni, Washington Pakamisa, Rahman Kutsanzira and Nkosana Siwela Sibelo should get a chance.
Or defenders: George Magariro, Gerald Ndlovu, Khumbulani Banda, Innocent Mapuranga, Sikhumbuzo Banda, James Jam and Qadr Amini. The last 12 games have been yo-yo game — 18 goals in week 16 and 24 the following week before another drop to a mere 13 a week later. Weeks 19, 20 and 21 produced a combined 55 goals, but had three nil all draws, four 1-1 draws and two 2-2 ties.
Week 22 saw three nil all draws producing just 14 goals from eight matches before the figure rose to 23, fell to 13 again, upped to 19, then 16 before last weekend’s 13 — a clear sign there are no strikers worth their salt in the league.
And as such there would be no striker worthy of a place in the finest 11 at the end of the season. While this will raise eyebrows obvious statistics will not lie!
For how else do we explain that Simba Sithole, now at Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, still sits at number two on the scorers’ charts four months after he quit the local league?
Roderick Mutuma — Dynamos 12
Simba Sithole — Caps United 10
Evans Gwekwerere — Caps United 10
Charles Sibanda — FC Platinum 9
Leonardo Fiyado — Gunners 9
Graham Ncube — Highlanders 8
Pride Tafirenyika — Caps United 8
Makai Kawashu — Monomotapa 8
Pevington Zimunya — Masvingo 7
Tinei Chitora — Blue Ribbon 7
Benjamin Marere — FC Platinum 7
Donald Ngoma — FC Platinum 7
Daniel Kamhunenga — Blue Ribbon 7