By Sports Reporter
ENGLAND-born Zimbabwean midfielder Andy Rinomhota, capped off a memorable season at English Football League Championship side Reading after being named the 2018-19 Fans’ Player of the Season by the club’s fans at the weekend.
The 22-year-old, who is a long term target of Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa, was presented with the award after Reading’s final game of the campaign against Birmingham City at the Madejski Stadium which ended in a goalless draw on Sunday.
Rinomhota made 30 appearances in all competitions this season and scored one goal in a terrific breakthrough season for the midfield dynamo, who won several Man of the Match Awards.
The England-born player, who will be at Reading until 2022 after he extended his contract in February said he was delighted with the recognition.
“I’m very happy for the season I’ve had, and very grateful for everyone that has voted for me,” Rinomhota said in a statement on the club’s official website on Tuesday.
“It’s a nice way to finish the season – staying up was the main aim, and now I hope we can kick on and take the form that we finished this season into the next one. It was nice to have the pressure off so that we could enjoy it – we still wanted to win, but it was good to be able to enjoy the occasion.”
He added: “It’s a nice group of academy graduates who have won this award; a lot of them have gone on and done big things. Hopefully I can do the same. I have to thank my teammates for the way that they have helped me on my first season in. So it’s a credit to them as well.”
The top three in the polling included full-back Andy Yiadom and forward Yakou Méïté – Rinomhota acknowledged the outstanding contribution that the pair had made.
He continued: “Andy Yiadom was a big contender – he has been consistent in every game; always above average and one of the best in the team. He’s played almost every game.
“And Yakou’s goals have been a big part in keeping us up in the last few months too. So it could have been anyone who won it.”
Rinomhota joined the Reading academy in 2015 and featured for the Under 18 and Under 21 teams before laying down a marker in the 2016/17 campaign with 39 appearances for the Under 23s.
He was given a place in Royals’ 2017 pre-season squad to the Netherlands before making his senior debut in a Carabao Cup win against Gillingham that August.
Rinomhota waited patiently for his first league appearance, which came from the bench in a 3-2 win at Preston on September 15, 2018 and he has become a permanent fixture in the Reading starting lineup since then.