Soccer Star to be unveiled today

HARARE - The question lingering on the lips of many football followers countrywide is who will be crowned this season’s Castle Premier Soccer League Soccer Star of the Year?

But the question will, however, be answered tonight when the best player is inducted into the elite club at a ceremony to be held in the capital and be immortalised alongside the greats of the local game. 

This year’s award feels almost impossible to call. Indeed it has been an average season, where no player has illuminated the domestic football scene but at the end of the day there has to be a winner.

From the look of things it appears a three-horse race between CAPS United’s pair of Hardliife Zvirekwi and Leonard Tsipa who powered the Green Machine to their first league title in over a decade and FC Platinum’s goalkeeper Petros Mhari.

Zvirekwi has been a consistent performer in United’s push for the title which also seen him command first team jersey in Warriors’ successful Afcon qualification with ingenuity and look favourite to succeed Chicken Inn’s Danny Phiri, who won the award last year.  

Although the competition hardly rewards goalkeepers, Mhari had a great season for FC Platinum between the posts and should not come as a surprise if he scoops the big prize.

Mhari, however, arrive at the ceremony tonight with odds heavily staked against him as Japhet Mparutsa (1982), Energy Murambadoro (2003) and Washington Arubi (2011) being the only goalkeepers to have won the prestigious award in its history.

Tsipa played a crucial role in Makepekepe’s charge, chipping in with important goals and have a good chance of winning the coveted prize.

Tsipa’s statistics are impressive but it has been the manner of his execution that has thrilled on such a grand scale for a 34-year-old. Tsipa, who also earned national team call-up with his impressive display, has already been confirmed as the Golden Boot Award winner after finishing the season with 12 goals.

But there is no doubt that FC Platinum’s eye-catching duo of Walter Musona and Winston Mhango would be under consideration, after taking their places on the 11 best players selected on Tuesday.

There are also players like CAPS United’s Ronald Pfumbidzayi, Peter Muduhwa of Highlanders and Ngezi Platinum Stars’ Liberty Chakoroma, 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 at the same event. CAPS United’s Lloyd Chitembwe and FC Platinum’s Norman Mapeza are set to go head-to-head while Bosso’s Erol Akbay has an outside chance, having transformed the fading giants into a competitive outfit in short space of time.

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

The soccer stars selection was conducted on Tuesday by football writers, coaches and club captains came up with the 11 finalists from which the best player awaits the crowning moment this evening.

The 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.    

2016 Soccer Stars full list

Leonard Tsipa (CAPS United), Hardlife Zvirekwi (CAPS United), Ronald Pfumbidzayi (CAPS United), Gift Mbweti (Hwange), Peter Muduhwa (Highlanders), Godknows Murwira (Dynamos), Petros Mhari (FC Platinum), Winston Mhango(FC Platinum), Walter Musona (FC Platinum), Clement Matawu (Chicken Inn), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum).