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FC Platinum dominate soccer stars nominations

Sport
WALTER MUSONA

Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions FC Platinum have provided the highest number of players by a single club on the 2022 Soccer Stars of The Year finalists, with three players on the 11-man list.

After dominating the league campaign to win their fourth consecutive league title, the Norman Mapeza coached side was largely expected to dominate the list of finalists.

They could have easily had more on the calendar with Brian Banda one of the players that should have made the cut.

Walter Musona, with his 14 goals and several assists in the season, earned him a place on the list and is the favourite to lift the Soccer Star of the Year award next month.

Teammates Gift Bello, who won his seventh league title, and goalkeeper Wallace Magalane also made it as a reward for their contribution in keeping FC Platinum's defense watertight.

The Zvishavane-based side conceded the least number of goals in the season — 14 from 34 matches.

Midfield dynamo Banda strangely failed to make the cut of the players voted for by a panel of 50 journalists, 18 topflight coaches and their captains.

This is despite the influential role the former Highlanders star played for the champions this season. His fellow midfielders Blessing Moyo and Jeansmith Mutudza were also excellent throughout the season.

The only other team with more than one player on the list this year is Ngezi Platinum which provided two players despite their struggles for the better part of the season.

Delic Murimba, also voted November player of the month, was rather a surprise inclusion in the final 11 while goalkeeper Nelson Chadya deserved his place after a good season.

Top goal scorer William Manondo, whose 17 goals helped Caps United to survive relegation, easily made it on the list.

He is considered a real threat to Musona for the top award.

Chicken Inn's diminutive figure of striker Brian Muza started the season on fire before fizzling out but the selectors decided he had done enough to warrant a place on the list of finalists.

Giants Dynamos and Highlanders have both one representative each on the list.

DeMbare, who finished third on the log standings, have defender Frank Makarati on the list. Young Bill Antonio who lit up the league at the start of the season before he was snapped up by a Belgium top flight league side Mechelen, during the season, surprisingly failed to make the grade.

Devine Mhindirira was a shining beacon for Highlanders who had a rather lukewarm season, and was rewarded for his efforts with a place on the list.

Former FC Platinum's Elie Lunga was also rewarded for his contribution in the colours of Black Rhinos, as was young striker Tino Benza whose goals and assists propelled Herentals College to a respectable eighth place finish on the log table as well helping the team to qualify for the Chibuku Super Cup final.

Triangle and Bulawayo Chiefs can rightly feel aggrieved by the selectors as none of their stars made the calendar.

Donald Ngoma and Gerald Bhero were exceptional for the Lowveld-based Triangle and were probably the reason why the team finished the season sixth on the log standings.

Mtokhosizi Msebe of Chiefs also played his heart out throughout the season to help his team finish seventh and qualifying for Chibuku Super Cup final where they are meeting Herentals tomorrow.

The Soccer Star of the Year and his two runners-up, who will be drawn from the eleven finalists, and will be announced at a banquet in the capital early next month.

Caps United's Joel Ngodzo was the last recipient of the accolade in 2019 before the PSL went into a COVID-19-induced recess last year.

At the ceremony, the coach, goalkeeper, referee and young player of the year awards will also be handed out.

Mapeza is a frontrunner for the coach of the year accolade after presiding over another stellar season, while Magalane, Nelson Chadya and DeMbare’s Taimon Mvula will fight it out for the goalkeeper of the year gong.

Whawha striker Jayden Barake is the favourite for the Young (Under 19) Player Of The Year award.

The 2021/22 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Soccer Star of the Year finalists:

Brian Muza, Delic Murimba, Devine Mhindirira, Elie Ilunga, Frank Makarati, Gift Bello, Nelson Chadya, Tinotenda Benza, Wallace Magalane, Walter Musona, William Manondo

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