Soccer stars vie for top honours

soccer_starHARARE - Striker Charles Sibanda and two other players from premiership pacesetters Motor Action are among the list of 11 players nominated for this years Soccer Star of the Year Award at the weekend.

A panel of local football writers chose the eleven players – who will all grace the 2010 Soccer Star of the Year Calendar – during a meeting in Kwekwe at weekend.

Sibanda was rewarded for netting 12 league goals in the current campaign and is joined by teammates Bekimpilo Ncube who is also the Bulls captain and midfielder Allan Gahadzikwa.

Dynamos who are in second place on the table provided striker Benjamin Marere and veteran captain Desmond Maringwa who largely been used as a second half substitute on the few occasions he has played for the Harare side.

Goalkeeper Washington Arubi was overlooked on allegations of provocative gestures he is said to have made at Highlanders fans during the tempestuous BancABC semi-final in August.

Still, the omission of midfielder, Ashley Rambanepasi raised many questions about the selection criteria. The former CAPS United captain went beyond the call of duty with a distinquished performance since joining bitter rivals Dynamos at the start of the season. He has been the heart beat of the team and when he coughed, the whole team caught cold. However, the selectors argued the former CAPS United captain was also involved in the tempestous Banc ABC semi-final and that he displayed indiscipline against the dictates of SWAZ constitution which disqualifies players on those grounds.

Bulawayo giants Highlanders will also have two players on the calendar, that is industrious former Black Rhinos midfielder Menard Mupera and youth sensation Joel Ngodzo.

CAPS United captain Nyasha Mukumbi and goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda who was recognised for his scoring prowess after banging in six goals also make the list.

Gunners top-scoring Norman Maroto also made to the calendar after scoring 18 goals in 27 matches of the league campaign so far while Hwange’s Fortune Ncube was also rewarded for his efforts for the coal-miners.

The over-all winner of the Soccer Star of the Year award, the first and second runner-ups, were also selected but will be announced at a date yet to be announced.

Motor Action mentor Joey Antipas and Highlanders coach Mkhupali Masuku featured prominently in the race for coach of the year although Antipas appeared the favourite to win the award.

Last year’s Soccer Star of the Year Award was won by former Gunners midfielder Ramson Zhuwawo who led his team to their maiden league title while Cuthbert Malajila and Nyasha Mushekwi were the first and second runner-ups.

Soccer Stars List: Charles Sibanda (Motor Action), Benjamin Marere (Dynamos), Menard Mupera (Highlanders), Joel Ngodzo(Highlanders), Allan Gahadzikwa (Motor Action), Fortune Ncube (Whange), Bekimpilo Ncube (Motor Action), Desmond Maringwa (Dynamos), Edmore Sibanda (CAPS United), Norman Maroto (Gunners), Nyasha Mukumbi (CAPS United).

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