HARARE – Newly-crowned Castle Lager Premiership champions Chicken Inn provided the highest number of finalists on the 2015 Soccer Stars of the Year calendar following yesterday’s selection meeting.
It was a double celebration for the Gamecocks, who also confirmed their participation in the 2016 African Champions League yesterday.
Zifa yesterday confirmed they entered Chicken Inn’s name for Africa’s premier inter-club competition while Harare City will take part in the African Confederation Cup.
The Gamecocks, who won their maiden title four years after promotion into the Premiership, provided goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze, striker Edmore Chirambadare, and midfielders Clemence Matawu and Danny Phiri.
Out-going champions Dynamos had two players in young goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva, who had an outstanding season between the sticks for the Glamour Boys, while left-back Ocean Mushure was rewarded for his captivating performances at the back.
Highlanders’ Knox Mutizwa, who is also the league’s top goal-scorer made it onto the list. Mutizwa sealed the Golden Boot Award after netting 14 goals in the just-ended campaign. Other players who made the cut are Triangle striker Hillary Bakacheza, who has been a consistent performer for Kelvin Kaindu’s charges while ZPC Kariba midfielder Raphael Manuvire made it this time after missing out last season through an injury.
FC Platinum’s Brian Muzondiwa was also voted among the Soccer Stars following a decent season after joining from relegated Black Rhinos.
Muzondiwa was a revelation for the platinum miners chipping in with some important goals before his side settled for third place on the log.
CAPS United defender Stephen Makatuka completes the list. Makatuka had an impressive season for the Green Machine establishing himself in the centre of a punishing Makepekepe defence that gave very little away, especially after the return of former midfielder Lloyd Chitembwe.
The 2015 Soccer Star of the Year will be announced on Friday at a banquet in the capital and it appears Chicken Inn’s Phiri and Mushure will battle it out for the top gong.
From yesterday’s selection 19 players were ruled out for either picking up more than five yellow cards or two red cards while Dynamos duo of Takesure Chinyama and Roderick Mutuma were disqualified after being found guilty of misconduct by the PSL.
Stephen Alimenda apart from accumulating five yellow cards was also deemed ineligible after he was also found guilty of verbally abusing Tsholotsho’s female assistant coach Sithethelewe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda.
The selection panel comprised 14 Castle Lager PSL current coaches, 16 current club captains and media practitioners.
Triangle coach Kelvin Kaindu and Dongo Sawmill coach Shadreck Magurasave did not turn up. The voting process also kept up with technology — using a secret computerised electronic ballot.
The electronic voting system was supervised by a panel of experts that included media house editors, football stakeholders as well as Delta Beverages internal and external audit firms.
The Soccer Star is set to pocket $5 000 while his first and second runners-up will pocket $3 000 and $2 000 respectively.
Each of the other eight finalists will get $1 000, the golden boot winner $2 000 with the top goalkeeper pocketing $2 000.
The Coach of the Year will pocket $3 500 with the Most Promising Under-20 player set to walk away with $2 000.
The Referee of the Year, who will be voted for by the Zimbabwe Soccer Referees’ Association, will receive $2 000 while his first and second runners-up will pocket $1 500 and $1 000 respectively.
For the most disciplined team, $10 000 will be the reward.
2015 Soccer Stars full list: Hillary Bakacheza (Triangle), Elvis Chipezeze, Edmore Chirambadare, Clemance Matawu, Danny Phiri (all Chicken Inn), Stephen Makatuka (CAPS United), Tatenda Mukuruva, Ocean Mushure (both Dynamos), Raphael Manuvire (ZPC Kariba), Brian Muzondiwa (FC Platinum), Knox Mutizwa (Highlanders)