By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
THE 2014 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League annual Soccer Stars of the Year selection process will be held on November 22 in Harare. Eleven outstanding players, the best referee and his assistants as well as the Coach of the Year will be selected with the top player set to walk away with $5,000 courtesy of the sponsors.
The top referees of the year will be selected by the Zifa Referees’ Committee.
According to a communiqué from the PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele, the selection panel will consist of 16 Premiership coaches and their captains as well as 32 journalists from various media houses.
Of the 32 journalists, it is expected that correspondents from areas like Hwange, Chiredzi and the Midlands will be accommodated as leaving them out would be a great injustice to the whole process.
The voting process will this year move along with technology by using a secret computerised electronic ballot.
“The Castle Lager PSL voting process will be by way of a secret computerised electronic ballot. The electronic voting system will be supervised by a panel of experts that will include media house editors, football stakeholders as well as Delta Beverages internal and external audit firms,” said Ndebele in his communiqué.
Any player, according to the PSL, who accumulates six yellow cards or more during the course of the season up to selection time will not be eligible for the awards and will be disqualified.
The same will apply to a player who accumulated two or more red cards during the course of the season up to selection time.
“Any player who is summoned and found guilty by the PSL disciplinary committee or courts of law during the season will be disqualified.
Ndebele said final rules would be availed to the selection panel as consultations were still on-going.
Last year there was controversy on the number of games that qualified a player to be eligible for selection with a minimum of 10 games enough for a player to be considered.
The most outstanding goalkeeper was selected on an unclear formula after the PSL and sponsors chose to use the more complex Spain system known as the Zamora.
The formula saw one Herbert Rusawo of Black Rhinos winning the award.
Some of the players expected to be on the calendar include Dynamos’ young defender Blessing Moyo, Stephen Alimenda, ZPC Kariba’s Pride Tafirenyika, Dennis Dauda, Tendai Hove and ageless Limited Chikafa, Bantu Rovers’ Teenage Hadebe and Nqobizitha Masuku, Buffaloes’ Tafadzwa Mombeshora, Caps United’s Dominic Chungwa, Chicken Inn’s Lawrence Mhlanga, Clemence Matawu and Bhekimpilo Ncube, How Mine’s Kuda Musharu, Hwange’s David Boriwondo and Aleck Marime, FC Platinum’s Thabani Kamusoko and Walter Musona, Highlanders’ Charles Sibanda, Felix Chindungwe as well as Ariel Sibanda. Former Bosso winger Kudakwashe Mahachi, now at Mamelodi Sundowns, is still eligible for selection unless the minimum of 10 games as per last year’s selection guidelines is done away with.
Caps United’s Hardlife Zvirekwi and Highlanders’ Njabulo Ncube are already out of consideration after they were sanctioned by the league and their clubs respectively. Also out is Bosso midfield star Mthulisi Maphosa who is serving a 75-hour community service for assault.
Dynamos’ Tawanda Muparati is the reigning Soccer Star of the Year after coming out tops last year with then Harare City winger Silas Songani and Chicken Inn’s Mahachi coming second and third respectively. Of the class of 2014, only Mahachi and Charles Sibanda are likely to return to the prestigious calendar again with Mahachi set to make it for the third time in a row.
Barring any irregularities, Bulawayo’s Philani Ncube and Allan Basvi, Matabeleland South’s Salani Ncube, Brighton Chimene from Rusape and Harare’s Norman Matemera should be up for consideration for the referees’ awards.
Female referees saw little action this year with the likes of Tambudzai Tawengwa, who is on the Fifa panel, only getting fourth official appointments. She has the mental ability to handle top tier matches if the selectors give her the benefit of the doubt.
The 2013 Soccer Stars finalists were George Chigova, Tawanda Muparati, Gift Bello (all Dynamos), Silas Songani (Harare City), Charles Sibanda (FC Platinum), Eric Chipeta (Hwange), Kuda Mahachi, Tendai Ndoro (both Chicken Inn), Menard Mupera (How Mine), Hardlife Zvirekwi (Caps United), Munyaradzi Diya (Highlanders). The Chronicle