Northern Region hosts awards gala

HARARE - Northern Region Division One’s most outstanding players from the just-ended 2016 season are set to be honoured at an awards ceremony tonight in the capital.

The league will also celebrate the Coach of the Year as well as the league’s three best players shining the light in the second tier division which has had its fair share of uncertainty.

The league is currently bearing the brunt of sour relations between the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

The two bodies have been at each other’s throats since Zifa’s October Annual General Meeting (AGM) where councillors voted to relegate four teams from the PSL instead of two.

It effectively gave hope to the impeding winners of the four regional Division One leagues.

However, with equal measure, it brewed chaos to a system that had been set way before the season had begun.

At their 2015 AGM, Zifa and PSL had agreed to demote two teams and promote two through play-offs from the country’s four regions — Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central.

So while Black Rhinos won the 2016 Northern Region Division One title, their promotion has been halted by the relegation impasse consuming the country’s football administrators.

The stand-off escalated when the PSL resolved to approach the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

However, the Zifa Northern Region chairman Willard Manyengavana says tonight is not about the PSL-Zifa stalemate but rewarding the players who rose above the rest.

Herental’s Blessing Majaira won the Golden Boot after banging 21 goals, while Golden Valley striker James Salima was not far off scoring 18 goals.

Stix Mtizwa is expected to be named the Coach of the Year after guiding Rhinos to the title.

In 2014, Mushowani midfielder Zivanai Mhanda won the prestigious award and walked away with a Toyota Corolla, courtesy of World Navi Zimbabwe.

Last season, Ngezi Platinum Stars forward Evans Katema won the top award while his coach Kifton Kadurira was named Coach of the Year.

Katema also walked away with a Toyota Corolla from World Navi and $400. 

Herentals’ Edgar Mhungu was named the first runner-up in the Players of the Year award while Mushowani’s Tendai Mutandi was the second runner-up. 

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