The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
ZIFA Southern Region Division One will crown their excelling players with the Soccer Star crowning ceremony to be held on Sunday.
The ceremony, sponsored by businessman, Raj Modi through his Liquor Hub outlet, will take place outside the beverages and retail shop in the city centre.
The 11 finalists list that will be in race for the top gong is dominated by Talen Vision and championship winners, Bulawayo City players with the soccer star likely to come from the two sides who were involved in the tussle for promotion the whole season.
The finalists include City’s goalkeeper, Kelvin Nyoni, Canaan Nkomo and Innocent Kutsanzira while from Talen Vision there is Mandla Gasela, Obadiah Tarumbwa, goalkeeper, London Zulu, Grey Kufandada and Brian Muza, Bosso 90 contributed two players, Dominic Jaricha and Darlington Mukuli with Ciwu’s Muziwakhe Dlamini completing the list.
Southern Region board member, Fiso Siziba said the selection presented a difficult choice for the selectors as there were many outstanding players some of whom could not make it into the calendar.
“Such selection never please everyone because our opinions differ but I think the selectors did well and for me I wouldn’t say there is any surprise inclusion as the players on the list played well but obviously the list can accommodate only 11 players.
“There was some criticism on why there are two goalkeepers but there is no limit to the number of goalkeepers that can go into the finalist list even in the top three,” he said.
Siziba said they were pleased players from developmental sides such as Bosso 90 were also making it into the calendar and hopes they will be drafted into Highlanders main squad in the coming year so they showcase their skill at a higher level.
He paid tribute to players that have had a dance in the Premiership among them, Tarumbwa and City’s captain, Zibusiso Sibanda, who despite failing to make the top 11 made a critical contribution to the Bulawayo City Council-owned side’s march towards the title with crucial goals.
“When others are offloaded from PSL clubs they lose sparkle but Oba came and illuminated the TV attack adding flair and giving them impetus to score more goals and give City a run for their money while Zibusiso played the true role of a captain, coming from his defense role on several occasions to score crucial goals, seven of them, including the last gasp winner against Bosso 90,” said Siziba adding they appreciate the efforts of the sponsor to recognise those excelling in the league.
The soccer star is set to walk away $400 richer, with the first runner up grabbing $300 and the second runner takes home $200 while the rest of the finalist will get $75 each.
The coach of the year and golden boot winner have been earmarked to get $400 each with goalkeeper of the year getting $300.
Modi, who is also the deputy minister of Industry and Commerce, will also sponsor the printing of the Southern Region soccer stars calendar.