TRIANGLE coach Taurai Mangwiro believes FC Platinum star Rodwell Chinyengetere should retain the Soccer Star of the Year award following another stellar performance by the midfielder in helping the Zvishavane side defend the league title.
BY HENRY MHARA
The finest 11 players who illuminated the scene this season will be picked today when a panel of football writers, coaches and league teams’ captains gather in Harare for the selection process.
From those 11 who will make it on to the “calendar,” three most outstanding players — the Soccer Star of the Year and his two runners-up — will be selected.
Coach and Rookie of the Year will also be selected at today’s function, while the Referees Association will also pick their best match officials of the season.
The best 11 players will be announced immediately, while the other categories will only be revealed at a banquet to be held next month.
Mangwiro, whose Triangle side punched above their weight this season to finish fourth on the log table and winning the Chibuku Super Cup, chose Chinyengetere over his own player Lameck Nhamo, who is a genuine contender for the top accolade.
Chinyengetere was the centre of the show for FC Platinum, with his 16 goals to win the golden boot race, helping the champions to a comfortable victory in the title race.
“Chinyengetere, for me, was the best player this season. He has been there since day one to the last. Not only did he score the most number of goals, he also played well in most of the games,” Mangwiro said.
“Lameck Nhamo has been a revelation over the years, but I thought he has been more sound this season. He scored the highest number of goals in his career (in the top flight), 15 this season, so he was that good and close to Chinyengetere. But when one considers all the other things, I think Chinyengetere was a cut above everyone else.”
If he bags the gong as is hugely expected, he will complete a memorable double as he will also pick the Golden Boot Award for his exploits in front of goals.
In a season that a few players performed above average, the champions are expected to dominate the best 11 list, with defenders Kelvin Moyo and Winstone Mhango likely to make the grade.
Harare City’s Moses Muchenje was also outstanding and should be an easy pick for the selectors, while goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda did well for Highlanders, in a season that the Bulawayo giants underperformed.
For the Coach of the Year award, Mangwiro picked FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza after he guided the side to a historic back-to back championship.
“It has to be Norman Mapeza. He did very well, and basing by the number of times that he won the monthly awards, it should be straightforward. But there is also Mark Harrison (Harare City) who did well, considering where the team is coming from.
“These are some of the things that should be considered. Herbert Maruwa of Black Rhinos has also done well, and the same with Rodwell Dlakama at Chapungu,” he said.
Young Harare City’s attacking midfielder, Tatenda Tumba, starred for his team, and while he fizzled out at the end of the season, he had done enough to win the Rookie of the Year award.