The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Dazzling Denver

RISING star, Denver Mukamba, emerged the biggest winner at the Dynamos end-of-season awards' ceremony when he scooped the club's Player of the Year prize at a glittering function in Harare last night.

The lanky midfielder walked away with a US$3 000 cheque for all his efforts in a bountiful season for the Glamour Boys.

Mukamba, who was the overwhelming favourite for the award from the start, has become hot property in the domestic league and a target of some big South African clubs.

The 20-year old arrived back in the country yesterday afternoon, just in time for the ceremony, following a short trial stint at South Africa's Bidvest Wits this week.

The accolade was a fitting honour to the young midfielder who virtually led the charge in DeMbare's quest for glory this season.

Besides his influential role in the engine room, Mukamba also grabbed vital goals for the Harare giants to finish as the top scorer in all competitions.

He had 15 goals overally, after claiming the Mbada Diamonds Golden Boot with four goals to his credit, and was the second highest goal-getter with 11 strikes to his credit in the Castle Lager Championship.

Young utility player Partson Jaure, who formed the bedrock of the Glamour Boys defence this season, was also rewarded for a sterling performance in his debut in the top-flight.

The tough tackling defender, who played like a veteran in the absence of senior players George Magariro and Guthrie Zhokinyi, bagged two accolades for the Players' Player of the Year and the Most Improved Player of the Year awards which carried US$1 500 each.

Midfielder Tawanda Muparati, who also played his heart out, especially in the later stages of the campaign, was voted the club's Most Consistent Player and got US$1 500 while Ocean Mushure was rewarded for being the Most Disciplined Player.

Mushure's award was worth US$1 250.

Young forward Farai Mupasiri won the Rookie of the Year award.

Club captain Desmond Maringwa, who has sacrificed bone and limb throughout the years, won the Most Loyal Player award for the second year running and went home US$1 000 richer.

The awards were bankrolled by the club's principal sponsors BancABC.

DeMbare secretary-general Raymond Kazembe said the ceremony was part of the club's celebrations for completing a back-to-back league and cup double.

The Glamour Boys defended the Castle Lager championship on superior goal difference after finishing the season tied on 69 points with Highlanders.

They also retained the Mbada Diamonds Cup recently with a 2-0 win over Monomotapa in the final to set themselves up as the current undisputed kings of Zimbabwean football.

Kazembe said the Glamour Boys, who had only Mukamba and Jaure among the 11 Castle Lager Soccer Stars of the Year finalists, deserved more recognition from the selectors.

"Despite writing another fine piece of history this year, only two of our players were this year named among the 11 Soccer Stars of the Year finalists, defender Partson Jaure and attacking midfielder Denver Mukamba.

"And yet ours was a year in which not a single department in our cohesive team was found wanting -- from our very reliable and agile goalkeeper; our dependable and solid defenders; our highly mobile and skillful midfielders, right up to our prolific and intimidating strike force, whose goal tally won us the League Title.

"Talk of miscarriage of justice!

"I am, however, hopeful that the efforts of our terrific coach, Callisto Pasuwa, would eventually be rewarded this year for taking the unstoppable Dynamos machine to dizzy heights.

"Last year Pasuwa missed the Coach of the Year Award despite winning a double, ostensibly because he assumed the reins at the middle of the season.

"He has scored another double this year in two consecutive years. If he cannot land it this year; Zimbabweans would have the right to ask: 'What else should the man do to earn that recognition'?'" said Kazembe.

DeMbare also took time to reflect on the tragedy that rocked the family this season following the death of board chairman Richard Chiminya by observing a minute of silence.

Kazembe said the club owed much to the founding fathers who laid a strong foundation for the success the club is enjoying.

Chiminya died last month at the age of 79.

"We lost one of the pillars of the DeMbare family, an esteemed and honoured son and guiding hand in Richard Chiminya, chairman of the club's board of directors and a founding member of Dynamos Football Club.

"Dynamos it is what it is today because of the dedication, hard work and vision of our founding fathers such as Sam Dauya, Richard Chiminya among others," said Kazembe.

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