BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
DYNAMOS right back Emmanuel Jalayi must be gazing covetously as he goes through the list of the selected 2019 Soccer Stars of the Year announced yesterday.
He must be wondering at domestic football’s adulation of the 11 who were picked as the most outstanding players of this campaign for this year’s Soccer Stars of the Year calendar.
The 20-year-old will feel disappointed not to be part of this exclusive group given the public relations fiesta this process will bring when the soccer stars gather at a special banquet on December 6 in Harare.
A panel of football writers, team captains and club coaches from all the clubs in the top-flight league selected the finest players they believe were outstanding in the current campaign.
While, naturally the selectors can’t include everyone on the calendar, the omission of Jalayi was one of the major talking points soon after the exercise was completed yesterday.
There is a general feeling that he deserved to be part of this exclusive club.
The Black Aces Youth Academy player who is on loan to Dynamos has been one of the key drivers of the Harare giants’ revival under coach Tonderai Ndiraya.
After a disappointing start to the campaign which saw the team struggle in the murky waters of relegation earlier in the season, Jalayi’s contribution helped the team rise to contest for a top four finish.
Without his power and influence, Dynamos often struggled.
Apart from Jalayi, there are several others who probably deserved to be on the Soccer Stars of the Year calendar. FC Platinum’s Kelvin Madzongwe, Ngezi Platinum Star’s Donald Teguru, Harare City’s Ishmael Wadi, Tichaona Chipunza of Chicken Inn, Manica Diamonds’ Patson Jaure and Chapungu attacking midfielder Denver Mukamba also missed out despite their influence for their respective clubs.
Mukamba was instrumental at Chapungu after also joining during mid – season just like TelOne forward King Nadolo who is one of the players who made it on the calendar on account of his impressive performance in the second half of the season.
The former Dynamos midfielder scored five goals that helped the Gweru-based side steer away from relegation and that his contribution was not recognised has been another topical issue under discussion since the winners were announced yesterday.
The selectors also overlooked all of FC Platinum’s defence including goalkeeper Petros Mhari.
The Zvishavane-based side are two points behind log leaders Caps United with only two matches left before the end of the campaign.
The defending champions’ championship bid has been backed by their defensive solidity which has seen them concede just 15 goals in the campaign thus far to emerge the meanest defence in the domestic league this season.
How then the selectors failed to recognise any of FC Platinum’s defenders such as vice-captain Gift Bello, Madzongwe or Mhari for their contribution which has seen them fight for the championship with Caps United, defies logic.
Should FC Platinum go on to win the championship, it will be largely on account of a rock solid defence that has earned a pristine record of conceding the least number of goals in the PSL and not to reward a single member of this defence will be a mockery of the men who have a good chance of defending the biggest prize in domestic football.
Only one defender, Ian Nekati of ZPC Kariba made it into the list of the 11 finest players.