Who will be crowned King?

HARARE - WILL it be Dennis Dauda, Tendai Hove, Limited Chikafa or Stephen Alimenda?

This is the biggest question on the lips of players and fans alike, and the question will be answered at the 2014 Castle Lager Soccer Stars of the Year awards ceremony tonight.

It appears a three-horse race between ZPC Kariba’s trio of Dauda, Chikafa and their goalkeeper Hove after the three powered the debutants to a second place finish in the Castle Premiership, narrowly missing out on the league title to eventual champions Dynamos.

Saul Chaminuka’s men surprised even themselves by taking the title race down to the wire, on a dramatic last day of the season, before a shattering 3-2 defeat to CAPS United heartbreakingly denied them what would have been a historic league title.

Despite losing out on the big one, ZPC players did however exhibited individual brilliance throughout the season, the most notable, and favourite among football writers, being rock-solid defender Dennis Dauda.

Dauda was an unsung hero in the heart of ZPC’s defence, commanding his area with ingenuity to be widely tipped favourite to succeed Dynamos midfielder Tawanda Muparati as the country’s finest player.

Their goalkeeper, Hove, was another success story of the season. 

Although the competition hardly rewards goalkeepers, Hove had a brilliant season for ZPC between the posts and should not come as a surprise if he is crowned tonight. 

Hove, however, will arrive at the ceremony tonight with odds heavily staked against him as Japhet Mparutsa (1982) and Energy Murambadoro (2003) are the only goalkeepers to have won the prestigious award in its 37-year-old history.

But the former Lancashire Steel and Chrome Stars stopper could, however, walkaway with the Goalkeeper of the Year award which was won by Black Rhinos’ Hebert Rusawo last year.

Another outstanding ZPC player was striker Chikafa.

Chikafa played a crucial role in Kariba’s charge, chipping in with important goals.

Dynamos midfielder Stephen Alimenda also comes to mind.

The well-travelled hard-man was the driving force behind the Glamour Boy’s fourth straight league title – an immovable object in the champions; central midfield.

Then there are also players like CAPS United’s Tendai Samanja, Charles Sibanda of Highlanders and Harare City’s David Kutyauripo who deserve special mention for the crucial roles they played for their respective clubs.   

The Coach of the Year and the Referee of the Year will also be honoured tonight. ZPC Kariba’s Saul Chaminuka and Calisto Pasuwa of Dynamos are set to go head to head.

Dynamos right-back Blessing Moyo is among the top favourites for the Rookie of the Year award and is likely to face stiff competition from the FC Platinum pair of Walter Musona and Wisdom Mutasa.

How Mine’s Kuda Musharu and Charles Sibanda of Highlanders have already been confirmed joint winners of the Golden Boot Award after finishing the season with 12 goals each. The two are also in the running for the Soccer Star award after making in on the 11 finalists list. 

The Most Disciplined Team of the Year will also be rewarded at the same function.

The selection was conducted last month with football writers, coaches and club captains making up the voting academy.

This year’s voting process was conducted through an electronic voting system and was supervised by experts, who included sports editors, football stakeholders as well as Delta Beverages internal and external audit firms.

Delta Beverages, who are official sponsors of the Premiership, are also bankrolling tonight’s awards in what promises to be a glittering ceremony at a Harare hotel where the winner of the main award is set to pocket $6 000.

2014 Soccer Stars

Dennis Dauda, Tendai Hove, Limted Chikafa (ZPC Kariba), Stephen Alimenda, Themba Ndlovu (Dynamos), Charles Sibanda (Highlanders), Tendai Samanja (CAPS United), Kuda Musharu (How Mine), Evans Rusike (Hwange), David Kutyauripo (Harare City), Thabani Kamusoko (FC Platinum).

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