By Sports Reporter
FC Platinum star Rodwell Chinyengetere was over the moon after becoming only the fourth player in the history of Zimbabwean top flight football to retain the Castle Soccer Star of the Year award.
Chinyengetere was crowned the domestic topflight league’s finest player for the second successive season at a colourful ceremony on Friday night.
He was the biggest winner on the night after clinching both the Castle Soccer Star of the Year gong and the Golden Boot award for his 17 goals while former Triangle striker Lameck Nhamo and Kelvin Moyo were named the first and second runners up respectively.
The feat saw him becoming the first player during the era of the modern Premiership to have won the top individual award twice in a row while overall he became the fourth player since independence in 1980 to successfully retain the award.
The 30-year-old former Hwange forward joined the exclusive club of legendary players such as Stanley Ndunduma, Peter Ndlovu and George Shaya but was quick to dismiss any comparisons with the trio.
“I am over the moon, it is a dream come true (and) I would like to thank God for the grace he continues to give me. It is an extraordinary feeling. I am nowhere near the legendary Peter Ndlovu and George Shaya and I am, therefore, humbled to have joined that club of legends who have won the Soccer Star accolade twice in a row,” Chinyengetere said.
“I want to thank everyone who supported me this year and throughout my career. It would not have been possible for me to be here without the support of my coach Norman Mapeza and my teammates.
“Football is a team game and one cannot become successful on the field of play without his teammates being good players. I salute them, and not forgetting my family for their unwavering support,” said Chinyengetere, who will in January join South African side Baroka FC.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Soccer Awards banquet turned out to be an FC Platinum show as apart from Chinyengetere and Moyo, the Zvishavane side also had midfielder Farai Madhanhanga among the best XI players, while Mapeza retained the Coach of the Year award.
A modest Mapeza attributed his team’s success to hard work after he recovered from a back surgery to inspire his miners to success with two games to spare and a massive 13-point advantage over their nearest rivals Ngezi Platinum Stars.
“I am happy, especially since this year was a difficult year due to the back surgery, but still I realised that hard work pays off. Many thanks to everyone who did the voting.
“In terms of the next season, I cannot predict the future, but I can promise that I will do my best just like always. As for the incoming coaches and my fellow coaches, my advice to them is that hard work pays off indefinitely and perseverance is key,” Mapeza said.
Harare City midfielder Tatenda Tumba, who is away on national duty with the COSAFA Under-20 side was named the Rookie of the Year after a brilliant season with the Sunshine Boys.
Veteran match official Ruzive Ruzive and Norman Matemera were named joint winners of Referee of the Year gong while Bulawayo Chiefs were named the league’s most disciplined side.