CHICKEN Inn captain Danny “Deco” Phiri, has emerged as the favourite to win the 2015 Soccer Star of the Year award, whose selection will be conducted in Harare on Monday.
BY HENRY MHARA
Eleven outstanding players as well as the best coach and referee of the year will be selected on the day.
The 11 finalists will be announced on the day, while the Soccer Star of the Year as well as the first and second runners-up will be announced at a banquet on December 4.
The Rookie and Goalkeeper of the Year will also be selected on Monday as well as the Most Disciplined Team.
It is likely that Highlanders’ Knox Mutizwa, who has so far scored 14 goals, will win the Golden Boot of the Year unless something happens in the final round of fixtures which will be played tomorrow and on Sunday.
It has been a tough season, where no player had stood head and shoulders above the rest, but Phiri could claim the top gong mainly due to his consistency throughout the season where he led his team to the Castle Premier Soccer League title.
Some of the contenders lacked consistency, lighting up the league at one stage, but going to sleep at the other.
While his teammates like striker Edmore Chirambadare, ageless midfielder Clemence Matawu and goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze were also influential in the title charge to deserve a place on the 11 finalists list, the team’s success owes much to Phiri.
It had been suggested that the midfielder would be ineligible for selection due to his accumulation of six yellow cards.
But the organisers yesterday said he had picked just four yellows and one red which makes him eligible for the awards.
Phiri, who is likely to be rested in the champions’ final match against Flame Lily tomorrow, probably so that he avoids picking up more cards, is set to face competition for the big award from FC Platinum striker Brian Muzondiwa and Mutizwa, who was influential for Bosso.
Dynamos’ duo of goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva and defender Ocean Mushure also played well and have an outside chance of sneaking on to the podium.
Choosing the 11 finalists could prove a tough call for the selectors, who include sports journalists, coaches and team captains, but the FC Platinum pair of Marshal Mudehwe and Gerald Takwara are some of the names that are likely to feature on the calendar.
ZPC Kariba’s Raphael Manuvire had an outstanding season for his side as well and so did Caps United defender Stephen Makatuka, while anchorman Dominic Mukandi picked form late into the season.
Maybe, if Mukandi had started the way he finished, he might as well be fighting for the top honours. Harare City could provide William Manondo, while Innocent Muchaneka and Hillary Bakacheza did well for Hwange and Triangle respectively.
Tineyi Chitora, who played a pivotal role for Chapungu, will also make his case.
The Coach of the Year award will be a battle between championship winner Joey Antipas and FC Platinum gaffer Norman Mapeza. The Soccer Star of the Year winner will walk away $6 000 richer, while the first and second runners-up will get $3 000 and $2 000 respectively. The 11 finalists will get $1 000 each.