Zvirekwi on cloud nine

HARARE - CAPS United defender Hardlife Zvirekwi felt “honoured and privileged” after being crowned the 2016 Soccer Star of the Year at a glittering ceremony held in the capital on Friday. 

Zvirekwi has been a revelation for Makepekepe with consistent performances in their successful push for the title which also saw him command a first team jersey in the Warriors’ remarkable Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification.

The Warriors right back took over the reigns from former Chicken Inn midfielder Danny Phiri, who now plies his trade with Golden Arrows in South Africa’s Absa Premiership.

Zvirekwi beat his team-mate Leonard Tsipa into second place while FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari settled for third place. And after Zvirekwi joined the elite league of the country’s finest football players he could not hide his joy. 

“I am obviously excited to be the best player in the land. It shows that hard works pays and to be recognised is obviously something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I feel honoured and privileged to win such a prestigious award,” Zvirekwi said. 

“Even to the day I retire I will always show that I was once among the best. 

“This season we had our challenges like most clubs, but what pushed us was that we had set our goals from the beginning of the season and I am glad we managed to accomplish them.

Zvirekwi said his CAPS United team-mates deserved to take the plaudits for his success.

“It's a pity that only one person has to be crowned like this, but the whole team deserves to be crowned,” added Zvirekwi. 

“We all worked hard for us to be crowned champions, it is never about an individual but the team. I was lucky to have played most of the games this season. I missed only two games — one (against Chicken Inn) — because of an injury and the other because of suspension.” 

Zvirekwi wants to continue at CAPS United and is already looking at retaining their title next season while doing well in the Caf champions league. 

“… for now I am going to enjoy this moment and look forward to the champions league. I am very happy at CAPS United despite all the challenges, I love this club and if there is no better offer I will be here to help the club and  hopefully, defend our crown and fight for the champions league.”

For Tsipa, who ended the season as the league’s top goal scorer with 11 goals, being first runner-up was a fitting achievement for a 34-year old as he powered the Green Machine to a league title ending over a decade without winning the championship. 

The way Tsipa defied age in Makepekepe’s bid to end their title drought won him many admirers and was a firm choice for the top gong. It was also a night to remember for Highlanders youngster Prince Dube who was voted Rookie Player of the Year. 

Dube also defied his young age to lead the Bosso attack and did it with aplomb chipping in with some important goals which saw the Bulawayo giants   mount a serious title challenge. 

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