By Eddie Chikamhi
HARARE- Warriors goalkeeper Washington Arubi capped a brilliant season last night when he was voted the Dynamos Player of the Year at the club’s end of year awards ceremony in Harare.
Arubi has been one of the rocks on which Dynamos built their success this season and will certainly have a cheerful festive season after getting the trophy and pocketing US$5 000 for his efforts, to take his total award earnings to US$12 000.
Last night’s club award comes barely a week after Arubi was showered with two of the biggest accolades in the Castle Lager Premiership when he scooped the Soccer Star of the Year, which carried a US$5 000 cheque and the Goalkeeper of the Year which came with US$2 000.
The Dynamos awards were held at the same time with the club’s fund-raising dinner where DeMbare unveiled their new signings for the next season who include Zambian – striker Derick Kabwe and attacking midfielder Arthur Kaseloki – who were imported from Zesco United.
Former Monomotapa and Motor Action left back Ocean Mushure, ex-Blue Ribbon striker Tinei Chitora who grabbed a brace in their 2-0 win against Dynamos at Rufaro and Young Warriors goalkeeper George Chigova are also in their provisional squad.
But there was no doubting that the limelight was on Arubi again last night. The 25-year old Warriors goalkeeper will now have every reason to feel vindicated after missing the Soccer Star of the Year award in controversial circumstances last season.
With the help of a solid defence marshalled by vice-captain George Magariro and Guthrie Zhokinyi, Arubi had an outstanding season in goals for Dynamos after featuring 28 times and keeping 17 clean sheets in the league, which made him the best goalkeeper this season.
Arubi also had a good run in the 16-team Mbada Diamonds Cup where he was unbeaten in all games to help DeMbare win a memorable league and cup double. Premiership Golden Boot winner Roderick Mutuma was also rewarded for finishing the season as the club’s top goal scorer after banging 14 goals.
Mutuma had a dream maiden Premiership year after transforming his potential from an underrated Division One player to finish as the league’s top striker. He got US$2 500 for his efforts last night. Veteran midfielder Desmond Maringwa, who has fought hard in difficult times to see the club succeed, was also honoured as the Most Loyal Player.
The Dynamos captain, who could not finish the season due to injury, received US$1 000. Denver Mukamba, who won the Premiership Rookie of the Year award, scooped the same award at club level last night and walked away US$1 500 richer while Gift Bello, who acquitted himself well following the injury to George Magariro later in the campaign, was voted the Most Improved Player.
Utility player Thomas Magorimbo, who seemed never to put a foot wrong playing either as a left or right back, was voted the most Consistent Player.
Magorimbo, who admits he is more effective in a midfield position, took home US$1 500 and still believes he deserved a place among the Premiership’s 11 finalists who were crowned last week. Club secretary-general Nyika Chifamba said the awards were a way to appreciate the players who contributed immensely to their success this season when they stopped a four-year drought by winning the title.
“This is just a way to appreciate our players for the good performance in the just-ended season. They did well to win the league and cup double and they also provided the league’s Soccer Star, Top Goal Scorer and Rookie of the Year. “We had a successful season and we came up with the awards as a way to express our appreciation for the hard work. We also owe it to our coaches and they deserve recognition.
“As Dynamos we are grateful to our sponsors BancABC for bankrolling the prizes because, as our major sponsors, the success of the team augurs well with their brand. We need to protect and hold it in high esteem,” said Chifamba. The awards were held at the same time with the club’s fund-raising dinner. The DeMbare executive revealed this week that their coffers were empty and needed US$650 000 to finance their pre-season preparations and to boost their account in the transfer market.
Club chairman Kenny Mubaiwa said they were in a difficult financial position. Mubaiwa said the executive hatched the plan to host the fund-raising dinner to boost their coffers as they operated on a tight budget. DeMbare were twice hit by player boycotts as they struggled to pay salaries and bonuses until they were bailed out by their sponsors BancABC and Lachelle Travel and Tours.
“When we came in office in July the team had played 19 games with 30 points. We were trailing FC Platinum by 12 points then but we had a big problem to pay the players their salaries and bonuses.
“It was a difficult period because the Dynamos account had US$43 and the money we got from the gate-takings was not enough to get the club to stand on its feet. That is why we came up with the idea to host a dinner to raise funds to pay for the signing on fees in face of competition on the market and to finance the team’s preparations for the Champions League.
We have lined up friendlies to give our team the best preparation that they can get and we are hoping to engage teams from Botswana, Zambia or South Africa. We are glad BancABC came to our rescue by offering to pay the players’ salaries, something they are still doing. It has been a very rewarding partnership and we want to thank them for making the awards ceremony a success,” said Mubaiwa.
Player of the Year (US$5 000) – Washington Arubi
Top Goal Scorer (US$2 500) – Roderick Mutuma
Most Disciplined Player (US$1 000) – Tawanda Muparati
Most Loyal Player (US$1 000) – Desmond Maringwa
Most Consistent Player (US$1 500) – Thomas Magorimbo
Rookie of the Year(US$1 500) – Denver Mukamba
Most Improved Player (US$1 500) – Gift Bello.
Players’ Player of the Year (US$1 500) – Tawanda Muparati