VETERAN Chicken Inn midfielder Clemence Matawu has for the sixth time made it onto the Soccer Stars of the Year calendar.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The former Motor Action midfielder was one of the 11 stars selected yesterday as a panel of football writers, coaches from the 18 Premier Soccer League clubs and their respective captains converged in Harare to choose the outstanding footballers in the just-ended season.
The 35-year-old Matawu, who is a creative midfielder, has been a perennial feature on the Soccer Stars of the Year calendar and his selection among the finalists yesterday is for the sixth time, which makes him the record holder for the most appearances on the calendar in the modern era of the Premiership.
However, the all-time record for most appearances on the calendar is held by the legendary George Shaya, who won it in 1969, 1971 (finalist), 1972 (winner), 1973 (finalist), 1974 (finalist), 1975 (winner), 1976 (winner), 1977 (winner) and 1978 (finalist).
But what is perhaps outstanding about yesterday’s selection is that only the top five teams contributed players on the Soccer Stars of the Year calendar with champions FC Platinum having two, Rodwell Chinyengetere and Kelvin Moyo, while runners-up Dynamos had skipper Ocean Mushure and striker Christian Ntouba Epoupa. Ngezi Platinum, who finished in third place, had the highest number with midfielder Tichaona Mabvura, defender Qadr Amin and striker Terrence Dzukamanja all making it onto the calendar. Chicken Inn, who finished in fourth place, contributed two with defender Moses Jackson and Matawu on the list.
Harare giants Caps United, who ended the season on fifth place, also had two with striker Dominic Chungwa, who finished as the top scorer with 17 goals, also making it on the calendar as did midfielder Devon Chafa.
But there are question marks on the omission of FC Platinum midfielder Winston Mhango, who has been one the heroes of their campaign.
Mhango made it onto the calendar last season even though his team was beaten to the championship by Caps United. This season he has also been shining like a beacon and certainly deserved a place on the calendar.
Black Rhinos striker Lot Chiwunga is also another surprise omission having netted 12 goals, the same as Ntouba. He certainly deserved recognition despite his team managing a seventh place finish.
There was also no goalkeeper on the calendar for the first time in the history of the soccer stars with Chicken Inn goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze being overlooked despite some excellent performances which saw him managing 18 clean sheets in the campaign while FC Platinum goalkeeper Wallace Magalane was another surprise omission despite his heroics between the sticks that saw him conceding just three goals in 13 matches.