The Herald (Harare)

9 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Matongorere Torches Storm

ZIFA technical director Nelson Matongorere was in the eye of the storm yesterday after it emerged that he masqueraded as the Warriors captain when voting for the Fifa Ballon d'Or football awards.

Argentina skipper and Barcelona star forward Lionel Messi won the award for a record fourth successive time when being voted the best player on the planet.

The Fifa, player of the year awards are according to the world fotobll bdy's criteria decided after a poll in which the captains and head coaches of the men's (for the two men's awards for coach and player) and women's (for the two women's awards) national teams vote.

International media representatives selected by French football magazine France Football. Also take part in the voting with each group's votes representing one third of the final result.

Even Messi and his closest rival for the award, - Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo - voted in their capacities as captains of their countries with the later casting his ballot as Portugal skipper.

Messi who did not even include himself in his top three had Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.

But surprisingly for the Zimbabwe ballot, Matongorere appeared on the list of voters under the category of Warriors captain.

The other locals to particptae in the voting were former Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo and veteran journalist Charles Mabika.

In the wmen's category there was no controversy with Mighty Warriors gaffer Rosemary Mugadza and skipper Onai Chingawo voting.

Under normal circumstances Warriors captain Kapini was supposed to take part in the voting process but was somehow replaced by Matongorere.

Warriors vice-captain Tinashe Nengomasha took part in the previous edition but it was not clear why neither Kapini nor any of his two deputies in the senior team Esrom Nyandoro and Nengomasha did not vote.

Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze last night said he was still to establish what could have happened as he was away when the Fife forms went to the association.

"When Fifa sends us those forms, they ask us to ensure that the relevant parties do respond so before I comment I would have to check what really transpired because I was away when the forms were sent but naturally that should have been done by the national captain," Mashingaidze said.

The Matongorere controversy in which the former Sporting Lions coach had the Argentine ace as his third choice, however, did not stop Messi from collecting a record-breaking fourth consecutive title of best player in the world.

United States' Abby Wambach claimed her first Fifa Women's World Player of the Year award at a glittering gala held in Zurich Switzerland on Monday night and televised live around the globe.

The diminutive Argentine forward Messi was also not the favourite of the Zimbabwean representatives though.

Matongorere and Mabika voted for Ronaldo in first place while Gumbo chose Iniesta.

Vicente del Bosque, the Spanish national team coach, and Sweden's new women's national team coach Pia Sundhage (former USA coach) were the winners of the FIFA World Coach of the Year awards for men's and women's football, respectively.

Aged 25, Messi concluded 2012 by scoring over 90 goals. He also finished top scorer in the Uuefa Champions League 2011-2012 season with 14 goals. Meanwhile, Vicente del Bosque added the European title to his 2010 FIFA World Cup crown when leading Spain to victory at EURO 2012.

In women's football, 2012 was the US national team's year.

Sundhage and Wambach led the US to a fourth Olympic gold medal in London after defeating the Japanese team in the final and thus exacting revenge for the Fifa Women's World Cup final the previous year, which Japan won for the first time in their history.

However, it is Messi's name that continued to take over the history books as he lifted the Fifa Ballon d'Or trophy for the fourth year in a row.

The mesmerising Argentine bettered the achievements of former superstars Zinedine Zidane (France) and Ronaldo (Brazil) -- who both claimed the World Player of the Year prize three times since its inauguration in 1991.

Messi polled 41,60 percent of the votes, ahead of Ronaldo on 23,68% and Iniesta on 10.91%.

The Fifa FIFPro World XI was dominated by players from Real Madrid and Barcelona, with Radamel Falcao being the only player in the team that did not hail from the Spanish giants - although he does ply his trade in Spain with Atletico Madrid.

The Fifa Puskas Award (best goal 2012) was awarded to Miroslav Stoch of Fenerbahce for his sublime volley from outside the area against Genclerbirligi.

World Cup and Euro-winning German legend Franz Beckenbauer picked up the Fifa Presidential award for his immense contribution to the game, while the Uzbekistan Football Federation bagged the Fifa Fair Play Award.

Full awards were as follows:

Player of the Year: Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)

Women's Player of the Year: Abby Wambach (USA)

Men's Coach of the Year: Vicente del Bosque (Spain)

Women's Football Coach of the Year: Pia Sundhage (former USA coach)

FIFA FIFPro World XI:

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas

Defenders: Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo.

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Andres Iniesta,

Forwards: Lionel Messi, Radamel Falcao, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Presidential Award: Franz Beckenbauer FIFA Fair Play Award: Uzbekistan Football Federation

FIFA Puskas Award: Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce)

How Zimbabwe voted:

Fifa World Coach Men's Football

Vote Country Name First (5 pts)Second (3 pts)Third (1 pt) Captain Zimbabwe Nelson Matongorere Pep Guardiola Jose Mourinho Alex Ferguson Coach Zimbabwe Rahman Gumbo Vicent del Bosque Pep Guardiola Klopp Jurgen Media Zimbabwe Charles Mabika Roberto Di Matteo Vicente del Bosque Jose Mourinho

Fifa World Player Men's Football

Vote Country Name First (5 pts)S econd (3 pts)Third (1 pt) Captain Zimbabwe Nelson Matongorere Cristiano Ronaldo Gerard Pique Lionel Messi Coach Zimbabwe Rahman Gumbo Andres Iniesta Lionel Messi Robi van Persie Media Zimbabwe Charles Mabika Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi Iker Casillas

Fifa World Player Women's Football

Vote Country Name First (5 pts) Second (3 pts) Third (1 pt) Captain Zimbabwe Onai Chingawo Homare Sawa Marta Alex Morgan Coach Zimbabwe Rose Mugadza Abby Wambach Camille Abily Homare Sawa Media Zimbabwe.

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