I deserve the award: Zhuwawo

ramson_zhuwawoHARARE Zimbabwe international midfielder Ramson Zhuwawo, who was last week crowned 2009 Soccer Star of the Year in a decision which has torched debate among soccer fans on whether he was the right man for the top accolade, has defended the football writers choice saying he "deserved the award".

Zhuwawo who admitted he did not expect to be crowned Soccer Star of the Year said the selection panel may have been swayed by his performances for Gunners who made history by winning the Premier Soccer League crown in only their second year in the topflight. “To be frank I didn’t expect to win the award but I would say that I deserved it because if you look at the fact that Gunners won their maiden league title in only their second year and that I played in virtually every game you will agree with me that I deserved it,” he said. Asked who he thought was the right candidate for the award, Zhuwawo said his teammate goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube shone brightest to deserve the top accolade.

The 26-year-old diminutive midfielder, who collected a cool US$4 000 for winning the award, led little Gunners to the CBZ Premiership title relegating seasoned campaigners Dynamos into second place. But Zhuwawo appeared to struggle with his form in national colours and the football fraternity was shocked when he was named king of domestic football on a glorious night for local football. He beat pre-selection favourites big CAPS United striker Nyasha Mushekwi and Dynamos Cuthbert Malajila to the top award. Malajila was crowned the second best player in the Premiership while Mushekwi was voted third.

Another Gunners man, Dube won the Goalkeeper of the Year Award. But it is the decision by the football writers to reward Zhuwawo with the big prize after he sneaked into the picture at the last minute which has now become a source of raging debate among football followers. What has raised the debate is the fact that the selection panel appeared to give some value to the heroes of the 2009 Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup, which Zimbabwe won on home soil when they beat Zambia 3-1 in the final at Rufaro. Zhuwawo was also part of that cast but made cameo appearances for the history making Warriors under the guidance of Sunday Chidzambwa. He also did not play in the final in which Mushekwi scored a brace on his return from injury while Malajila, who finished the tournament as the top goalscorer with four goals, also weighed in with the other goal.

Although Zhuwawo was one of the stars of the show for Gunners in the league campaign, his rivals also produced fabulous performances in the Champions League and during the campaign for the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup. “Mushekwi was robbed of the award,” said soccer supporter Martin Denzo. “How did Zhuwawo come into the picture? We need to be serious with the way (candidates for) these awards are selected,” he said. Another fan, Passmore Mharidzo said Zhuwawo did not deserve the award. “Zhuwawo never came close to my mind and I was surprised to hear he was the Soccer Star. This is a disgrace because we are not rewarding the right people.” The other finalists are Norman Maroto (Gunners), Tafadzwa Rusike, Method Mwanjali (CAPS United), Chris Semakweri, Mthulisi Maphosa (Monomotapa), Thabani Kamusoko (Njube Sundowns), Farai Vimisayi (Hwange). Each of the finalists got US$800.

The awards started in 1969 with legendary Dynamos forward George Mastermind Shaya winning the crown five times while Peter Ndlovu and the late Stanley Sinyo Ndunduma won the award twice each.

Previous Soccer Star of the Year winners:

1969 George Shaya

1970 Tendai Chieza

1971 Peter Nyama

1972 George Shaya

1973 Ernest Kamba

1974 Moses Moyo

1975 George Shaya

1976 George Shaya

1977 George Shaya

1978 George Rollo

1979 Shacky Tauro

1980 David Mandigora

1981 Stanley Ndunduma

1982 Japhet Mparutsa

1983 Ephert Lungu

1984 James Takavada

1985 Stanley Ndunduma

1986 Mercedes Sibanda

1987 Moses Chunga

1988 Ephraim Chawanda

1989 Masimba Dinyero

1990 Peter Ndlovu/George Nechironga

1991 Peter Ndlovu

1992 Wilfred Mugeyi

1993 Agent Sawu

1994 Memory Mucherahowa

1995 Tauya Murewa

1996 Stewart Murisa

1997 Walter Tshuma

2000 Zenzo Moyo

2001 Maxwell Dube

2002 Dazzy Kapenya

2003 Energy Murambadoro

2004 Cephas Chimedza

2005 Joseph Kamwendo

2006 Clemence Matawu

2007 Murape Murape

2008 Evans Chikwaikwai

2009 Ramson Zhuwawo

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