By Sports Reporter
ALL eyes will be on local football experts Wednesday when they select the finest players who impressed during the 2019 Castle Lager Premiership season which is now two fixtures from ending.
The selection comes at a time the league marathon is set for a photo finish with leaders CAPS United, reigning champions FC Platinum and third placed Chicken Inn all in contention.
CAPS United enjoy a precarious two-point lead ahead of FC Platinum while Chicken Inn still have an outside chance of winning the championship as they are five points behind the leaders with six points still on offer.
An equally intriguing fight for survival is also still on at the other end of the log with Mushowani having been relegated on Sunday while Hwange, Yadah, Harare City, Bulawayo Chiefs, Herentals and TelOne and Chapungu are all in danger of dropping to division one football.
All the attention tomorrow will however be on the soccer stars’ selection with voters choosing those whom they think gave a good account of themselves in the 2019 season.
Selected sports journalists, top-flight club captains and coaches will select the 11 best players, coach, referee and rookie of the year.
A selected panel of experts, which comprises sports editors, representatives of the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe and football experts, will be led by a convener in observing the voting process.
They will also vote for the overall winner and his runners-up, who will be announced at a banquet to be held on December 6.
Organisers the Castle Lager Soccer Stars of the Year Awards will utilise an online voting system this year, a shift from the traditional gatherings.
The same system will be used for the monthly awards next year.
This year’s Castle Lager Soccer Star of the year selection process will be done on digital platforms with panellists voting from where they will be on the voting day.
The same platform will be used for monthly Coach and Player of the month Awards selection.
“The system design ensures that there is security of the data as well as the capability for the data to be made public as is the usual case after the winner has been announced,” the organisers said.
Rodwell Chinyengetere of FC Platinum won the last two editions of the Soccer Star of the Year gong while Hardlife Zvirekwi was the country’s top player in 2016.
While over the years, a panel of selectors has found it difficult coming up with the stars, it’s most likely going to be the same scenario this year as few players consistently shined in a season of largely average performances.
CAPS United midfielder Joel Ngodzo is most likely to be a strong contender for the overall Soccer Star of the Year award after spearheading Makepekepe’s sustained league challenge this campaign.
A number of names have also been brought to the fore with the likes of Prince Dube of Highlanders, Never Tigere of FC Platinum, Tichaona Chipunza of Chicken Inn, Dynamos’ Emmanuel Jalai and his teammate Evans Katema dominating the discussions on various fora.
Striker Clive Augusto, who still leads the Golden Boot race after banging in 14 goals in the first half of the season for Chicken Inn, before joining South African side Maritzburg United in August, could also be named amongst the country’s finest players this season.