THE international football season is coming to a close with some leagues already concluded while the remaining few are heading into their final week.
Zimbabweans Abroad with Henry Mhara
For quite a number of Zimbabweans players playing in those leagues, this is a time for ecstasy as they reap the rewards for their good performances throughout the season, but for others, it is a period to forget.
This will be a season to remember particularly for Czech Republic-based Costa Nhamoinesu after his side Sparta Praha won the league title whose rewards include playing in the lucrative Uefa Champions League next season.
Nhamoinesu has been influential in that unforgettable campaign, featuring in all the team’s 24 matches before he picked a shoulder injury a month ago.
It promises to get even better for Nhamoinesu who could finish the season with a double as his team are playing in the Czech Republic Cup final against Viktoria Plzen on Saturday, a game where the 28-year-old is expected to make a return from his injury.
It was a similar joy for the Sundowns crew of Cuthbert Malajila, Khama Billiat, Esrom Nyandoro and the club’s manager Peter Ndlovu after their side clinched the South African Premiership title ahead of Kaizer Chiefs last week.
On top of winning the title which comes with it Caf Champions League participation and the bragging rights, the Brazilians have been promised to share the R14,5 million prize money among themselves.
Reports from South Africa yesterday said each player will get at least R400 000.
Still on the title glory and the Caf Champions League, Madinda Ndlovu will also lead his team Township Rollers in the continent’s premier club competition next season after winning the Botswana League title. He is odds favourite to win the league’s Coach of the Year award in that country.
Quincy Antipas is almost assured of playing Europa football next season after his Danish club Brondby came from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw against Randers and will just need to win their last match of the season against Nordsjælland at the weekend to secure the spot.
It was an even better weekend for another Danish-based player Silas Songani whose side SønderjyskE survived relegation after a 0-3 win at AGF. Songani’s team is now five points clear of the relegation zone with one game to go.
Mike Temwanjira’s chances of playing Europa football next season were completely extinguished over the weekend after his Romanian side Vaslui were soundly beaten 3-1 at home by Oţelul Galaţi and are now 13 points behind the team that occupies the spot with three games left.
In Belgium, Ovidy Karuru and Vusa Nyoni’s sides OH Leuven and Mons respectively are battling to stay up in top flight. The two sides are currently involved in relegation playoffs.
It was a season to forget for the Zimbabwean players at South African side Kaizer Chiefs — Willard Katsande, Matthew Rusike, Kingston Nkhata and Jimmy Jambo- whose side led the log standings for the better part of the season only to surrender it at the later stage of the season.
There could be a consolation though for Katsande who is in line to win the Premiership Player of the Season Award after an almost faultless performance by the gritty midfielder.
The Zimbabweans at Wits University Benjani Mwaruwari, Denver Mukamba and Tinashe Nengomasha will likely to be pleased with their team’s overall performance, finishing third on the log.
However, the crew will certainly not like their contribution to that success, as they featured in less than 30 matches, combined.
Save for Mukamba who still have some years left on his contract, the other three’s contracts are not likely to be renewed.
Tendai Ndoro had a great season with Mpumalanga Black Aces, scoring seven goals, three shy of the top goal scorer Bernard Parker, despite the Warriors man only playing half of the League season after signing for the club in January.
He led his side to a seventh finish on the log table and qualification for the MTN8.