By Eddie Chikamhi
ZPC Kariba hogged the limelight last night after defender Dennis Dauda was crowned Soccer Star of the Year, the first defender to win the prestigious crown in a dozen years, as his team swept the awards.
His teammates, Tendai Hove and Limited Chikafa, completed the top three at a banquet held last night. The Premiership newboys, who narrowly missed the opportunity to grab the title in their debut season, rounded off a fairy-tale campaign by grabbing all the top prizes with Saul Chaminuka being named the Coach of the Year.
Dauda claimed the honours and the US$6 000 cheque ahead of goalkeeper Hove who was the first runner-up, while veteran forward Chikafa completed his comeback season with a medal for the second runner-up.
Hove was again called to the winners’ podium to receive the Goalkeeper of the Year award.
Champions Dynamos were the biggest losers on the night as their gold medal hopefuls — Stephen Alimenda, Themba Ndlovu and coach Callisto Pasuwa — walked home empty-handed.
Pasuwa made history as the first coach to win four league titles on the bounce in Zimbabwe. The organisers also took the platform to honour the Glamour Boys at the function as they were handed a replica trophy to recognise their achievements in winning the championship three times on the trot last year.
There was some consolation for Dynamos as their right-back Blessing Moyo was unveiled as the best candidate for the Rookie of the Year award. Moyo was in competition for the accolade with the FC Platinum duo of Walter Musona and Wisdom Mutasa, while impressive goalkeeper and How Mine goalkeeper Donovan Bernard was also in the mix.
Youthful referee Brighton Chimene from Rusape was named Referee of the Year ahead of Salani Ncube and Stella Ruvinga.
FC Platinum walked away with the title for the Most Disciplined Team. It was a special night, especially for the Kwekwe-born Dauda, who was playing Premiership football after making his way from the lower Divisions where he played for DStv Rangers before joining the Kariba side.
Hove made his debut in the top-flight league this year and proved he had the safest pair of hands among the Class of 2014.
Their coach Chaminuka transformed his newly-promoted side into serious title contenders, but they gave away the advantage they had, in the race for the title, to finish a point behind champions Dynamos on a dramatic last day of the season.
Chaminuka’s script read more like the one written by Bigboy Mawiwi last year when he had a similar run with Harare City, but was beaten by DeMbare, on the final day, for the league title.
Chaminuka said his Premiership newcomers will not rest during the off-season as they seek to maintain their presence in their second season in the top-flight league.
“After this year’s performance we are the team to beat when the new season begins.
“So we are not going to rest on our laurels because if we to come back next year thinking that our performance in the just-ended season will repeat itself we will be lying to ourselves.
“We should be working on a serious programme during the pre-season. Obviously, we will bring in some new players to beef up the squad. We have since identified those who will be off-loaded to create the space.
“At the moment we are busy looking at the locals. We want them to be part of the story. We have been working specifically with those with ages from 16-19 the whole of this week.
“I am sure we may get a few talented boys whom we are going to prepare to train with the first team when the pre-season begins.
“You can’t be looking outside all the time. This year we had players like Tendai (Hove), Trevor (Chikede), Wilson Muchenje, Daniel Chakupe, and Keith Mavunga, all these players were born and bred here.
“We also had Dexter Phiri who came from Chegutu but is almost like a local guy.
“Hopefully, our performance with these guys this year has challenged one or two local youngsters to believe that they can also do it,” said Chaminuka.
Soccer Star – Dennis Dauda (ZPC Kariba)
1st Runner-Up: Tendai Hove (ZPC Kariba)
2nd Runner-up: Limited Chikafa (ZPC Kariba)
Other finalists: David Kutyauripo (Harare City), Stephen Alimenda, Themba Ndlovu (Dynamos), Thabani Kamusoko (FC Platinum), Charles Sibanda (Highlanders), Tendai Samanja (CAPS United), Evans Rusike (Hwange), Kudakwashe Musharu (How Mine)
Coach of the Year: Saul Chaminuka (ZPC Kariba)
Golden Boot: Charles Sibanda/Kuda Musharu (12 goals each)
Goalkeeper of the Year: Tendai Hove(ZPC Kariba)
Rookie of the Year: Blessing Moyo (Dynamos)
Most Disciplined Team: FC Platinum
Referee of the Year: Brighton Chimene
1st Runner up: Salani Ncube
2nd Runner-up: Stella Ruvinga
Most Disciplined Team: FC Platinum
Source: The Herald