15 December 2017

Zambia: Who Takes 2017 MTN/FAZ League Awards?

After a pulsating nine months of Super Division action, players and coaches will be rewarded for their efforts at tonight's MTN/FAZ awards gala in Kitwe.

The main focus will be on who grabs the best player award as well as the coach of the year awards with benchmarks restricted to just the top flight league action.

The best player award will see Zanaco's enterprising winger Augustine Mulenga having to first to deal with Lusaka Dynamos striker Christopher Mugalu who finished as top scorer, as well as team mate Toaster Nsabata.

In the coaches category Zanaco is again represented by head coach Numba Mumamba but will see stiff competition from Nkana's BestonChambeshi and Bilton Musonda of Green Buffaloes.

Champions Zesco United are represented only in one category, where holding midfielder Kondwani Mtonga is nominated for the most disciplined player of the year together with last year's player of th eyear winner Ziyo Tembo of Zanaco and joined by Ronald Kampamba of Nkana.

In the best young player category are Nkwazi's Lameck Banda, Prince Mumba of Kabwe Warriors, City of Lusaka's Edward Tembo and Crispin Sakulanda of demoted Mufulira Wanderers.

In an interview Mulenga said he was looking forward to winning the award so that he could dedicate it to his daughter, Hope who he lost during the season.

Mulenga lost his daughter while he was on national duty, a day before facing Nigeria in a World Cup qualifier in Uyo.

"I would love to win the award and dedicate it to my lovely latedaughter, the nomination means a lot to me," Mulenga said.

Mulenga has been a revelation for Zanaco in a season pundits gave theformer Champions no chance of challenging the title after losing almost the entire squad due to transfers.

"In 2016, I was not given a lot of chance to play but this year, the coach gave me an opportunity and I expressed myself. I will continue to work even harder in the 2018," Mulenga said.

His main rival for the award Chris Mugalu who will also be given the top scorer award for his 20 goals, said he has had a successful debut season in Zambia.

"This year was a good season. I worked hard, it was all about discipline for me to achieve the top scorer and player of the year nomination," Mugalu said.

Despite failing to lead his side to challenge for the title or clincha CAF Interclub championship spot Mugalu's exploits for Dynamos has seen him attract interests from six clubs in Zambia as well more clubsabroad.

Nsabata also said he felt honoured to nominated for among the best performers of the season adding that he had been in top form for fouryears now and this was the first time he was being recognised.

In the coaches category, Numba admitted that it would tough to retain the award he won last year because his opponents had done a commendable job with their clubs.

"Whether I win this award or not, it is gratifying to be nominated,especially this year considering where my team has come from.

After the exodus of players it was not easy for the technical bench to come up with a formidable team that can compete favourably," Numba said.

Chambeshi on the other hand paid tribute to his players for putting up a spirited fight that earned him the nomination.

Nkana launched a late title challenge that saw them clinch third position on the last day of the season thanks to their five straight win the last five matches.

"I must say that it is gratifying to have been on the shortlist but of course it will not be easy because there is also Numba Mumamba and Bilton Musonda who have also proved themselves," he said.

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