By Fatima Bulla
Local football players can look forward to another sponsored season next year after Castle Lager Premier Soccer League sponsors Delta Corporation confirmed negotiations for another contract.
This comes as good news after defending champions Dynamos provided the highest number of the 11 soccer stars finalists that will be celebrated on December 13 in Harare.
A team of sports journalists in the country, representatives of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League’s 16 clubs and the Football Union of Zimbabwe took part in the voting process.
This was done under observation of a team of experts and the sponsors Delta Corporation.
Three-time goalkeeper of the month George Chigova, vice-captain Tawanda Muparati and defender Gift Bello made it for the boys in blue while Highlanders weighed in with goal minder Munyaradzi Diya.
Chicken Inn provided two finalists in utility player Kudakwashe Mahachi and current top goal scorer Tendai Ndoro. Ndoro is top contender for the Golden Boot which is still up for grabs until the end of today as he currently has 18 goals.
He is almost guaranteed the award as his nearest rival, Buffaloes striker Steven Sibanda, is a distant second with 12 goals.
Hot shot Silas Songani from Harare City, Caps United’s hard-running Hardlife Zvirekwi, 2011 Soccer Star of the Year and FC Platinum’s Charles Sibanda also made it to the list.
Hwange weighed in with Eric Chipeta while ageless Menard Mupera provided representation for premiership debutants How Mine.
Delta Corporation marketing executive Patricia Murambinda assured the football family that there will be rewards for the soccer star finalists and other players in the league when the new season begins next year.
“We are currently in the process of negotiating a new contract and, from the look of things, we will be coming back stronger. If we look at our sponsorship, the money was used well as you can actually trace it and we are also happy with the administration,” she said.
Delta Corporation has been sponsoring the local league for the past three seasons to the tune of almost US$2 million.
While players like Dynamos defender Partson Jaure, his counterpart Ocean Mushure and Highlanders’ Bruce Kangwa missed out this year, another chance to reap rewards beckons next year.
Jaure was found guilty by the Zifa disciplinary committee for spewing obscenities at referee Thabani Bhamala. Kangwa and Mushure on the other hand had six yellow cards each.
This year’s soccer star is set to get US$5 000 while his first and second runners-up will pocket US$3 000 and US$2 000 respectively.
Each of the other eight finalists will get US$1 000, the golden boot winner getting US$2 000 with the top goalkeeper pocketing US$2 000.
The Coach of the Year will pocket US$3 500 with the Most Promising Under-20 player set to walk away with US$2 000.
The Referee of the Year, who will be voted for by the Zimbabwe Soccer Referees’ Association, will receive US$2 000 while his first and second runners-up will pocket US$1 500 and US$1 000 respectively. For the most disciplined team, US$10 000 will be the reward.
Selectors followed criteria modelled around the rules governing voting for Fifa’s ballon d’or. The selection criteria state that a player ought to have featured for his club for a minimum of 10 matches.
He should not have been summoned, charged and found guilty by his club, the Castle Premier League, Zifa, Fifa or any court of law for any kind of offence committed. The criteria also state that any player who accumulated two or more red cards as well as six yellow cards in the current season will not be considered. The Sunday Mail