SABLES and Cheetahs centre Daniel Hondo last night proved to be in a class of his own when he scooped two accolades at the Lion Lager National Rugby League awards in the capital. Hondo, who is in Namibia with the Sables for a Tri-Nations tournament, came out as the Player-of-the-Year and also grabbed the Backline Player-of-the-Year award ahead of team-mate Steven Hunduza in both categories.
The Sportivo captain was consistent in the just-ended season and his exploits in national colors, for both the Cheetahs and the Sable, made him a cut above the rest.
But the Sports Club captain was not the only player who is away with the Sables who managed to get an award as Matland Warriors and former Young Sables flanker Biselele Tshamala scooped the Forward-of-the-Year gong ahead of Old Hararians' Takunda Chifokoyo.
Tshamala will be earning his first cap for the Sables this afternoon and it was his ability to single handedly drive his side that earned him a call-up to the national side.
However, it was an even affair as both Matland Warriors and Sports Club got three awards each as the league runners-up won the Coach-of-the-Year award.
Despite scooping everything that was on offer in the XVs version of the game and finishing the seaosn with only one defeat, Sports Club gaffer Nsikelelo Sibanda walked away empty-handed with Matland Warriors coach Reuben Kumpasa grabbing the coaches' award.
Kumpasa led the Warriors to their first league final this year and he was also the player/coach for the Bulawayo outfit.
Osmond Lynx also of Matland Warriors walked away with the Most-Disciplined-Players' award getting the better of his teammate and captain Lloyd Machanjaire while Gabriel Masenda was judged the best referee this season.
Simba Chirimuuta was duly recognised as the Rookie-of-the-Year ahead of Alfred Ruwanda of Old Georgians Sports Club.
NRL president, Noddy Kanyangarara, believes the coming on board of Delta Beverages as the league sponsors played a huge role in developing the game not only at club level but the national side as well.
"We are very proud to say the success that most of the national teams are enjoying is as a result of the influence that came from the Lion Lager National Rugby League as most of the players are drawn from this pool.
"Since the coming on board of Delta in 2011, our flagship team, the Sables, has been improving on the world rankings.
"It is with this in mind that we are grateful and proud to be associated with Delta Beverages," said Kanyangarara.
The former Sables manager added that Zimbabwe needed to move away from the current amateur approach and take up a more professional approach to the game.
"The time has come for us to move away from being passionate about the game and become professional in our approach. Passion has brought us this far and to where we are today, but professionalism will carry us to the next level," said Kanyangarara.
2012 Award Winners
Player-of-the-Year: Daniel Hondo, (Harare Sports Club)
Backliner-of-the-Year: Daniel Hondo ( Harare Sports Club)
Rookie-of-the-Year: Simbarashe Chirimuta (Harare Sports Club)
Forward-of-the-Year: Biselele Tshamala (Matabeleland Warriors)
Most-Disciplined-Player: Oswald Lynx, (Matland Warriors)
Coach-of-the-Year: Rueben Kumpasa (Matland Warriors)
Referee-of-the-Year: Gabriel Masenda.