The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Sadiki Favourite for Top Gong

Zvishavane — FC Platinum will honour their outstanding players for the 2012 season at a colourful function in town this evening. The country's richest football club didn't soar, as expected, after a very good season last year.

"We are going to honour our players, we are going to maintain our tradition, but the event is going to be a low-key", said Phillimon Muvengwa the club spokesperson.

FC Platinum started the season on a high note as they lifted their first silverware, the Bob '88 Super Cup and the Independence Trophy.

The platinum miners lost the championship to champions Dynamos last season, on the final day, on goal difference and this year played in the Champions League.

Things, however, did not go according to expectations for a team that was expected to challenge for the league championship.

They parted ways with Rahman Gumbo and thrust his trusted lieutenant, Tendai Chikuni, into the hot seat.

While Chikuni tried his best, it was clear that he was still raw for such a very demanding position, especially against the background that he took over a struggling team.

Former Gunners' forward, Ali Sadiki, is the hot favourite to lift the Player of The Year award after a very good season which he gave his all and was outstanding.

Daniel Veremu, who took over the captaincy from Zephaniah Ngodzo, is the favourite for the Players' Player of The Year award.

Former Dynamos player, Thabani Kamusoko, enjoyed a great run in his new role as a central defender.

Young Raphael Mudhuviwa is tipped to win the Rookie of the Year award following a stunning performance in which he ended the season with the best tally of goals.

He will also take home the Golden Boot.

FC Platinum want to build their team on a platform of youthful players and Mudhuviwa is likely to play a very big role in the future.

Last season Tafadzwa Dube scooped two accolades, walking home with Player of the Year and Consistent Player of the Year award, but he didn't play well this year to deserve either gong.

He had disciplinary problems with the coaches that saw him being suspended for a number of matches.

Other awards to be won on the day include the Most Disciplined Player, Impact Player of the Year and the President's Special Award.

The awards' dinner could be the last supper for some of the players.

It's unlikely that FC Platinum will renew the contracts of Zephaniah Ngodzo, Muranganwa Nengomasha, Francis Kanda and goalkeeper Tsungai Mudzamiri.

"We are not going to be offloading any players except for Kanda (Francis) and Nengomasha (Muranganwa).We have players whose contracts have expired and who knows the coach might need the services of those players so as executive we are leaving the decisions with the technical team.

"We are also restructuring the technical department so no player is safe at the moment because the technical team will have the last say and it is going to be in place in January," said Muvengwa.

Benjamin Marere contract with the miners will expire on Monday, but he is likely to be back here for another season after impressing the club's leaders.

Veteran midfielder Rowan "Chidhara" Nenzou, William Manondo, who made his name with Kiglon and the dreadlocked Charles Sibanda are some of the players whose contracts have also expired.

Sibanda had a frost relationship with Chikuni after he was relegated to the bench.

It is also likely that the contracts of goalkeepers' coach Peter "Captain Oxo" Nkomo, former Chicken Inn assistant coach Philani Mabhena and former Shabanie Mine coach John Phiri will not be renewed.

The FC Platinum leaders are also reviewing their packages to players with emphasis now being placed on good bonuses rather than big salaries.

The club believes they made a mistake, in offering huge salaries, which destroyed the fire to illuminate the players' passion to play for a victory in every game since, win or lose, they were guaranteed a comfortable salary at the end of the month.

Chikuni is set to remain with the club although a new head coach is going to be appointed soon.

Initially, the club wanted Norman Mapeza to take charge, but the former Warriors' coach status is not yet clear after he was slapped with a six-month ban by Zifa.

FC Platinum has probably the best professional set-up in the Premiership with a state-of-the-art stadium and a gym and the remuneration paid to players compete very well with some of the South African clubs.

The club has already recalled Golden Boot winner Nelson Maziwisa from neighbours Shabanie.

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