THE best 11 player of the 2014 soccer season were selected at Mandel Training Centre in the capital yesterday with Harare City defender veteran David Kutyauripo being a surprise inclusion.
By Brian Nkiwane
Kutyauripo joined Stephen Alimenda and Themba Ndlovu [Dynamos], Limited Chikafa, Tendai Hove and Dennis Dauda [ZPC Kariba], Thabani Kamusoko [FC Platinum], Charles Sibanda [Highlanders], Tendai Samanja [CAPS United], Evans Rusike [Hwange] and Kudakwashe Musharu [How Mine] to complete the finalist list.
However, the top three winners, the Soccer Star of the Year and his two runner ups and other categories that include the Coach of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year and the Rookie of the Year will be announced at a banquet to be held on December 12 in the capital.
ZPC Kariba duo of Hove and Dauda are set to battle it out with Sibanda and Alimenda for the top three posts while Hove is a strong contender for the Goalkeeper of the Year award.
It remains to be seen from today’s matches who will clinch the Top Goal scorer award between Sibanda and Musharu who are current joint top goal scorers at 12 goals each.
Kutyauripo’s five star performance in the Chibuku Super Cup final could have capped a fine season for him.
Diaspora, as he is effectionally known in football circles, has proved that age is nothing but just a number.
He was again joined by ZPC Kariba goalkeeper Tendai Hove as the two curved their own piece of history by becoming the first Zimbabwean players in the history of soccer stars selection to be selected among the 11 finalists while they are panelist on the other hand.
The veteran defender who many doubt ever having voted for himself was perplexed when the moderator Charles Mabika announced the names of the finalists.
Many thought it was a befitting retirement package for the veteran defender who has played for the top two teams in the capital CAPS United and Dynamos, but the defender had other thoughts.
“This marks the return of the real Diaspora. One thing that keeps me going is hard work. I am a professional footballer who neither drinks nor smoke. I don’t go clubbing, my club is in the gym. This is the very reason why I have won such recognition at this age,” Kutyauripo said.
His counterpart in curving another chapter of history Hove said, his performance was like written on the wall for everyone to see.
“This is my first season in top-flight league but hard work has taken me this far I would like to thank our fans, administrators and my coaches for such a big achievement,” Hove said.