The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Tension Mounts as Soccer Stars Selection Looms

TENSION is building up as the 2012 football season staggers towards its climax with names starting to fly around as to who will be crowned the best player to emerge from the current campaign.

A new Soccer Star of the Year will be crowned to succeed former Dynamos goalkeeper Washington Arubi when a panel of journalists and selected officials convene in the capital next weekend to choose the top XI players who excelled during the course of the Castle Lager Premiership season.

Arubi has since moved base to South Africa where he is enjoying his game at University of Pretoria.

A new Coach of the Year is also expected to take over the reins from Hwange gaffer Tennant Chilumba who has since parted ways with Chipangano following a poor spell.

The Zambian mentor became the first foreign coach to win the coveted award and this year another Zambian gaffer Kevin Kaindu battles Dynamos coach Callisto Pasuwa for the award.

Another Rookie of the Year is expected to take over from DeMbare midfielder Denver Mukamba, who won the award last year in his first season at Dynamos.

The lanky midfielder had already burst onto the Premiership scene with Kiglon in 2010 and played a blinding role at the team and was duly rewarded.

Now Mukamba is even the odds-on favourite to win the big one -- the Soccer Star of the Year.

The selection of the best 11 Premiership players used to be a preserve of the Sports Writers Association of Zimbabwe but now the league sponsors oversee the process.

A panel of about 38 journalists and Castle Lager Premier Soccer League coaches, footballers' union executive members and referees' representatives will choose the season's best players.

Experienced soccer personalities, assisted by non-voting Sports Editors will oversee the selection process.

The Soccer Star Awards have in most cases stirred controversy but the agents handling the process on behalf of the sponsors, Multimedia, have been doing a brilliant job since last year.

The sponsors have maintained the same criteria used last year following the success of the event.

The criteria states that any player eligible for selection must have played at least 10 Castle Lager PSL matches for the 2012 season at one or more clubs.

A player who has been shown two red cards or more during the season or has been shown at least six yellow cards will also not be eligible for selection.

Any player, who, during the season is summoned, charged and found guilty by his club, Castle Premier Soccer League, Zifa and any court of law for any kind of offence will also not be eligible.

The best 11 Premiership players will be revealed next week while the top three players, the Goalkeeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and the most disciplined team of the year would be announced at a banquet next month.

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