Hail Qadr

Soccer Star of the Year award winner Qadr Amini (left) poses for a picture with his Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Takesure Chiragwi at the awards ceremony in Harare last night (Pic: Hilary Maradzika)

NGEZI Platinum Stars captain was last night crowned the Soccer Star of the Year award winner after an extraordinary season where he guided his club to its first ever premier league title.

He takes over the coveted prize from FC Platinum’s Walter Musona who won it last year.

Voted by a panel of journalists, coaches and team captains, the award recognised the utility player’s outstanding season where he led from the front for the Mhondoro-Ngezi-based team, netting seven goals in what was probably his best season for the club.

He beat stiff competition for the award from Dynamos midfield magician Donald Mudadi, who guided his team to a third-place finish in the league, and the Chibuku Super Cup final where they face off with Ngezi Platinum Stars at Baobab Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

The midfielder scored five league goals for the Harare giants.

The second runners-up award went to Bulawayo Chiefs chief striker Obriel Chirinda, who led the goalscoring chats for the better part of the season, but later missed a number of games at the end of the season due to national team commitments.

He eventually finished with 12, just one shy of Golden Boot winner Takunda Benhura of Ngezi Platinum Stars.

Dynamos’ 18-year-old sensation Elton Chikona picked the Rookie of the Year award after enjoying a successful debut season with the Harare giants, netting five goals

Highlanders goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda scooped the Goalkeeper of the Year award for keeping 19 clean sheets for his club.

Herentals’ Tino Benza made history when he retained the Fans Choice Player of the Year. The award was voted in by the fans via an online voting platform.

Ngezi Platinum Stars youthful coach Takesure Chiragwi, as was expected, took away the Coach of the Year award.

Speaking at a glittering award ceremony held in the capital last night, Premier Soccer League chairman Farai Jere said this year’s league competition was more competitive than the previous years, with champions Ngezi Platinum Stars losing six matches throughout the season.

FC Platinum lost just three in the 2022 season. League sponsors Delta Corporations, through its marketing manager Irimai Muzorewa, expressed satisfaction with how the season panned out.

He, however, implored authorities to build football facilities so that the league is not disrupted as was the case this year where some clubs ended up playing home matches away from home.

Sports deputy minister Emily Josaya, who was the guest of honour, applauded Delta for sponsoring the league.

She said sports infrastructure development would be the ministry’s main focus next year.

Josaya added that measures would be put in place to curb issues of violence and hooliganism in football.

Awards summary

2023 Soccer Star of the Year: Qadr Amini

First Runner-up: Donald Mudadi

Second Runner-up: Obriel Chirinda

Most Promising Player of the Year: Elton Chikona

Golden Boot winner: Takunda Benhura (13 goals)

Goalkeeper of the Year: Ariel Sibanda

Fans Choice Player of the Year: Tino Benza

Coach of the Year: Takesure Chiragwi

Referee of the Year: Brighton Chimene

1st Runner-up: Francis Chirwa

2nd Runner-up: Zondiwa Nkosana

Soccer Star of the Year finalists: Qadr Amini, Ariel Sibanda, Andrew Mbeba, Tanaka Shandirwa, Donald Mudadi, Takunda Benhura, Fortune Binzi, Tino Benza, Nelson Chadya, Michael Charamba, Obriel Chirinda

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