Change Soccer Stars voting procedure'

HARARE - On January 13, 2013, Fifa and France Football will host the Fifa Ballon d’Or’ Gala in Switzerland with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta vying for the top gong.

Millions of fans from across the globe will tune in to the live feed from Kongresshaus the likelihood of anyone disputing the credibility of the award is almost nought.

Fifa and France Football have ensured the award retains the respect it deserves.

The same cannot be said of Zimbabwe’s Soccer Star of the Year gala taking place this evening in Harare.

Instead of uniting the football community, the awards have in recent years divided the country between South and North, with 2012 being no exception.

Just after the season had passed the halfway mark, it was immediately clear which route the selection process was going to take just by reading the various national newspapers in the country.

As expected, journalists based in the capital and surrounding areas were routing for Dynamos midfield star Denver Mukamba while those based in Bulawayo fought in Masimba Mambare’s corner.

The selection process for the award has been cited as the main cause of the problem.

Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz) secretary-general Paul Gundani admits the selection procedure should stay in step with modern trends.

“Every year the awards are leaving local football fractured.

“The purpose of the awards is to bring together all football stakeholders and celebrate the beauty of the local game, but that is not happening,” Gundani told the Daily News yesterday.

“I remember when I was still playing and we were selected to go on the calendar, there was never anyone who queried the decision. Everyone respected the outcome and methods then.

“But now times have changed and the awards should move forward and follow the modern trends.”

In order for the awards to regain their lost glitter, Gundani said all the football stakeholders, particularly the players, should be involved in the process.

“The way we see it is that the awards should follow the road that has been taken by the Fifa Ballon d’Or’ and FifPro World XI,” he said.

“All the players and coaches together with the journalists and experts are given ballot papers to vote for their choice. It must not be limited to a few chosen journalists and coaches, but must be open to all the critical stakeholders.

“Even if there is bias towards any single player or a club it will be diluted because there is no way you can sway such a large number of people.”

For the 2012 FifPro World XI, Fuz were given a total of 450 ballot papers, which means all the players in the local Premiership voted.

The players’ body, however, only had two votes at this year’s selection indaba held in the capital last month.

“There is also no need for selection panel to meet under one roof and do the voting,” added the former Warriors defender.

“All the voters can send their ballot papers from wherever they are. Only representatives from the players, journalists, coaches and the experts will then meet to count the votes.”

Gundani paid tribute to the Castle Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the sponsors of the awards, Delta Beverages, for the work they have done so far but urged them to work even harder to meet international standards.

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