After a year punctuated by inconsistency, selectors are set for a torrid time in coming up with the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Coach of the Year, although the Soccer Star of the Year could prove to be easier to pick after some standout performances by a couple of players.
By Kevin Mapasure
Club captains, coaches as well as selected journalists will today come up with the outstanding players and coaches for the 2019 season that is expected to conclude on December 14.
With Caps United and FC Platinum having pulled away from another title challenger Chicken Inn at the top with 58 and 56 points, respectively – compared to Chicken Inn’s 53 with only two rounds of matches left before the curtain comes down, coaches Darlington Dodo (Caps) and Lizwe Sweswe (FC Platinum) are natural contenders for the gaffers’ gong.
It will not be a straight punch up between Dodo and Sweswe considering both only took over from Lloyd Chitembwe and Norman Mapeza midway through the season.
Dodo has so far presided over 13 matches with a win ratio of 58% after taking over from Chitembwe, who was at the helm for 19 matches in Caps colours before he crossed the floor to join Harare City.
During his tenure this term, Caps won 10 of their 19 matches which is a win ratio of 52 %.
When Chitembwe left, Caps United’s title fight was in a healthy state and Dodo has also managed to keep the Green Machine going.
At Harare City, Chitembwe has made a good fight to save the team from dropping to the second-tier league although their toes are still dipped in relegation waters.
At Harare City, he has won five matches after presiding over 13 with the same number of defeats during the period.
His record at City shows a win ration of less than 50% while after adding up his matches at Caps and the local authority side he has got a win ratio of 46%.
If Chitembwe wins the battle to stay afloat, which will not be an easy task considering they still have to play Ngezi Platinum Stars and Dynamos, it will represent a success story for the title winner.
But what if the selectors pick him as the outstanding coach of the season, then he fails to save Harare City, what impression will that paint?
What about Dodo? His record since he took over has been good. Caps are in control of their destiny and when he took over, the title had not been won. He had a commendable run putting together good wins and if he wins the title, it will be a fairy tale success story.
Other questions are whether the selectors would want to look at other outside candidates such as Pieter de Jongh at Highlanders, who came in and oversaw a consistent climb-up the table to fifth at the moment having taken over with the team in great danger of facing the guillotine.
For the Soccer Star of the Year, the only conundrum will probably be the choice between Highlanders striker Prince Dube and Caps United’s Joel Ngodzo.
Dube has been in good scoring form for Bosso while Ngodzo has been the heartbeat of Caps United’s title push.
Dube peaked midway through the season and while he has been scoring important goals, he is struggling to catch up with Clive Augusto who scored 14 goals before he left for South Africa.
There will be so many things that the selectors would have to consider as they make their choices. Whatever the outcome of today’s process, it will surely to send tongues wagging once again as it does every year.