WARRIORS and Highlanders’ legend Zenzo Moyo reckons Bulawayo Chiefs marksman Obriel Chirinda will land this year’s Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year gong after he was picked among the 11 Soccer Star of the Year finalists.
The 2000 Soccer Star of the Year award winner also picked Dynamos’ Tanaka Shandirwa and Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions Ngezi Platinum Stars’ Takunda Benhura as the main challengers for Chirinda.
Sports journalists, club coaches and captains voted for the country’s best 11 players yesterday and the top three will be announced at a banquet in Harare on Friday.
Also to be revealed on Friday will be the Coach of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Most Promising Player of the Year, and Referee of the Year.
Moyo said Chirinda deserves the top gong considering his performance at the Bulawayo side, a club with financial challenges and many a time did not train.
“For me this year it should be Obriel Chirinda of Bulawayo Chiefs. Here is a player who managed to score 12 goals playing for a club that had its troubles financially and he went on to be picked for the senior national team. He competed with clubs that have big budgets, Ngezi Platinum, FC Platinum, Highlanders and Dynamos and still managed to shine. His club was not training in some parts of the season. All things being equal, he was going to be the top goal-scorer. I also admired the ginger-haired boy from Dynamos (Shandirwa) and Benhura from the champions. These are my players for the top three,” Moyo said.
However, 2003 Soccer Star of the Year Energy Murambadoro was biased towards his department, and he tipped Ngezi Platinum Stars goalkeeper Chadya for the top award.
“I would like to say congratulations to all the players that made it onto the calendar. It is notan easy feat. The league was very competitive this year. It is all good for them, they deserved it. I will be biased towards my department. It is good to see that there are two goalkeepers in the best 11, it shows that the competition among our goalkeepers is good. It is unusual that you have two goalkeepers in the 11. For me (Nelson) Chadya is the Goalkeeper of Year and the Soccer Star of the Year. He was the driving force behind Ngezi Platinum Stars winning the league title. I would like to also congratulate one player from my club who made it, Michael Charamba. He put up a tremendous performance this year,” the Chicken Inn goalkeepers’ coach said.
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Highlanders’ veteran goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, who has 19 clean sheets also made it for the third time onto the Soccer Stars calendar.
Other players that made it to the top 11 are Highlanders defender Andrew Mbeba, DeMbare midfielder Donald Mudadi, Chicken Inn’s Charamba, Ngezi Platinum skipper QadrAmini, Herentals’ Tinotenda Benza and Manica Diamonds’ Fortune Binzi.