The Herald (Harare)

14 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Who Will Be 2012 King?

WHO will be crowned the 2012 king of Zimbabwe's domestic football and you can feel the tension rise as we get closer to the moment when the King will be crowned tonight. Will it be Highlanders' Masimba Mambare or Denver Mukamba?

Or could there be a surprise winner in Ronald Chitiyo, the diminutive Monomotapa midfielder, who is also tipped to have a strong say after a very good season?

It appears a difficult call but, at the end of the day, one person has to walk away with the coveted prize that will see his name included among legends like George Shaya, Peter Ndlovu, Shacky Tauro, Stanley Ndunduma and Japhet M'parutsa.

The 11 finalists were shortlisted last month but, interestingly, the debate has narrowed down to two midfielders -- Mukamba and Mambare -- who both have been outstanding for their clubs this season.

The odds tip Mukamba and he will certainly get the popular vote if the fans were the ones who cast the ballot.

He appeared to be a popular chose among the selectors, too, as he appeared on every list of those who voted on the day.

But, Mambare has also had a good year at Bosso and, if he wins tonight, there will be plenty of people shouting from his corner that he deserves it.

The winner is set to walk away with a trophy and a cheque of US$5 000 while the first and second runners up pocket US$3 000 and US$2 000 for their efforts.

The other eight finalists will get US$1 000 each.

This year's line up includes goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, Innocent Mapuranga, Mambare, Mthulisi Maphosa (all Highlanders), Felix Chindungwe, Kudakwashe Mahachi (both Chicken Inn), Mukamba, Partson Jaure (both Dynamos), Chitiyo (Monomotapa), Rodwell Chinyengetere (Hwange) and Shabanie Mine's Nelson Maziwisa, who is also the Golden Boot winner.

Maziwisa is set to pocket US$3 000 for finishing on top of the scoring charts with 18 goals.

But it is Mukamba and Mambare who have emerged as the front runners for the biggest award.

Besides finishing tied as the Golden Boot runners-up on 11 goals, the duo also got due recognition from their teams where they scooped the respective clubs' Player of the Year awards.

Mambare, who moved to Bulawayo at the start of the season after a disappointing stint with Motor Action last year, should fancy his chances after making a big impact upon his arrival at Bosso.

But after starting the few opening games from the bench, the 26-year old repaid the coaches' faith when he transformed himself to be key man behind Bosso with some crucial assists and contributing vital goals.

Mambare has been one of the vital cogs behind Highlanders' revival which saw them competing for the championship until the last day of the campaign, in a season in which they went for a record 23 matches unbeaten.

Bosso enjoyed a good spell under Zambian Kelvin Kaindu as they appeared determined to break the six-year championship drought, only to lose to Dynamos on goal difference.

But if the selectors also considered the achievements attained during the year, the fact that Mambare finished without a winners' medal could give Mukamba a slight advantage in this race.

Mambare had a couple of player of the Month awards in the bag.

Mukamba, who turns 20 next Friday, also won the Mbada Diamonds Cup to end the season with a double.

The lanky midfielder has been in top form it looks like he might not be available for the Glamour Boys next season as he is being chased by South African side Bidvest Wits.

After missing the line-up of the 11 finalists in controversial circumstances last year, Mukamba got consolation in winning the Rookie of the Year award and should be looking to lay claim on the coveted title following yet another impressive outing in DeMbare colours.

Gifted with the ability to change the game in a single moment of brilliance, Mukamba's presence in the Dynamos side has been magical to the extent that the team struggled whenever he was not on the line-up.

His absence was dearly felt he briefly left for trials in South Africa in June.

Monomotapa's Chitiyo has also been an outstanding performer for the modest Harare side, which finished fourth on the final log standings.

The coach of the Year is also going to be honoured and the race is largely expected to pit Dynamos' Callisto Pasuwa and Kaindu of Highlanders.

The Goalkeeper of the year, Rookie of the Year, Referee of the Year and the Most Disciplined Team of the Year will also be awarded at the ceremony.

Past Soccer Stars Of The Year

1969 - George Shaya 1970 - Tendai Chieza1971 - Peter Nyama1972 - George Shaya1973 - Ernest Kamba1974 - Moses Moyo1975 - George Shaya1976 - George Shaya1977 - George Shaya1978 -- George Rollo1979 - Shacky Tauro1980 - David Mandigora1981 - Stanley Ndunduma1982 - Japhet M'parutsa1983 - Ephert Lungu1984 - James Takavada1985 - Stanley Ndunduma1986 - Mercedes Sibanda1987 - Moses Chunga1988 - Ephraim Chawanda1989 - Masimba Dinyero1990 - Peter Ndlovu/George Nechironga1991 - Peter Ndlovu1992 - Wilfred Mugeyi1993 - Agent Sawu1994 - Memory Mucherahowa1995 - Tauya Murewa1996 - Stewart Murisa1997 - Walter Tshuma2000 - Zenzo Moyo2001 - Maxwell Dube2002 - Dazzy Kapenya2003 - Energy Murambadoro2004 - Cephas Chimedza2005 - Joseph Kamwendo2006 - Clemence Matawu2007 -- Murape Murape2008 -- Evans Chikwaikwai2009 - Ramson Zhuwawo.2010-Charles Sibanda2011-Washington Arubi

2012 - ?

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