ONE of the major traits of the country’s most supported game of football in olden days was the huge attendance of fans, not only during official league matches played during weekends, but during their favourite clubs’ training sessions.
This trend would enable fans to have it spot on when it came to the list of the first 11 players that the coach would select on a particular match day.
In the same measure, at the end of each year, supporters would also have it almost spot-on when it came to the list of the best 11 players of the season.
Those intense debates, year-in, year-out, on the recipient of the soccer star of the year award, can only help to inject a feeling of nostalgia to those who were privileged to witness the moments when this game still had followers.
Those were the days and gone are they!
Be that as it may, after Sunday’s final round of league matches, a panel of coaches, club captains as well as media football writers and presenters will select ‘the best 11 players’ whose talents shone so brightly better than their peers.
The group will pick the soccer star of the year and his two runners-up, the best goalkeeper, rookie and the coach of the year who will be announced at a later date.
But, who should be on the calendar?
It is certainly a tough call on coaches, club captains as well as football writers and presenters who will have to select the best among a bunch of mediocre or average players we have in the top-flight league.
Besides the poor show, it has to be done.
Thus Post Sport picked what in the writer’s opinion are the best 11 of the 2021/2022 Castle Lager Premiership.
Read on . . .
Wallace Magalane (FC Platinum)
FC Platinum goalkeeper, Wallace Magalane is truly the unsung hero in the platinum miners’ resurgence after a slow start to a season in which they eventually successfully defended their title.
The 28-year-old shot-stopper has been brilliant for the Norman Mapeza-coached side that only injustice of the highest order can deny him a place on the soccer stars of the year calendar.
Jorum Muchambo (Manica Diamonds)
Without the written rule that the best 11 players of the year must not have two goalkeepers, Muchambo deserves to be part of the best 11 of 2022.
Apart from past impressive performances during the season, as Post Sport pens this piece, Muchambo maintained 11 clean sheets!
Yes, his team flattered to deceive by starting the season with so much promise before becoming one of the league’s greatest donor of points in successive weeks that led to former coach, Johanisi Nhumwa being shown the exit, but Muchambo has done very well as an individual.
Walter Musona (FC Platinum)
Former Polokwane City and Sekhukhune United striker, Walter Musona has established himself as FC Platinum’s mainstay as they marched for their fourth title in the Zimbabwean PSL.
When Musona joined FC Platinum at the start of the season, Mapeza said the 27-year-old lacked the required fitness level, restricting him to cameo appearances, mainly from the bench.
But Musona, brother to former Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs goal-getter, Knowledge Musona, has been getting stronger and better for the three-time Zimbabwean champions.
William Manondo (CAPS United)
From most of the matches that Post Sport covered, both at Vengere and Sakubva stadia, including that unforgettable 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Manica Diamonds, Manondo has not exhibited the sleek nimble footedness of yesteryear top men who once romanced in our soccer fields.
But somehow, the ability to score the highest number of goals of the season automatically earns him a place among the best 11 of 2022.
Frank Makarati (Dynamos)
No doubt, Makarati has been a vital cog in coach Tonderai Ndiraya’s line-up and probably one of the major reasons Dynamos were a major threat to FC Platinum’s title retention campaign.
Divine Mhindirira (Highlanders)
Sheer individual brilliance and man-of-the-match performances by Highlanders midfielder, Divine Mhindirira will be difficult to ignore for the selection panel.
Just like in that 37th minute strike in his team’s encounter against Bulawayo Chiefs, which earned Bosso maximum points and moved them up the table to position four from five, Mhindirira has been some sort of personified divine intervention that Highlanders badly needed this season.
Eli Ilinga (Black Rhinos)
Ilinga coincidentally found himself at Black Rhinos after the Congolese’s failed move to South Africa’s DSTV Premiership side, Chippa United.
The 24-year-old striker must be thanking whoever assisted in making the decision to stay and play in the domestic top-flight league.
He has scored important goals for Black Rhinos, including that all important strike that secured Black Rhinos quarter final berth of the country’s premier club cup competition — the Chibuku Super Cup — against Caps United.
Brett Amidu (Chicken Inn)
The Chicken Inn midfielder’s decision to stay put at the Gamecocks after he was invited for trials at Lusaka Dynamos of Zambia must have paid off after an impressive season with the Joey Antipas-coached outfit.
After ending his relationship with champions, FC Platinum, Amidu gave his all for his new paymasters and he duly did not disappoint.
Donald Ngoma (Triangle)
No doubt, the former FC Platinum top man has been outstanding for the sugarcane growers.
Many followers of the game will remember the second half brace against Bulawayo City that powered the Sugar Boys into second position of the table in March and many more of his match deciding performances in the season.
Prince Chama (Herentals)
The Herentals winger provided the pace needed in the Students’ attacking formation and his inclusion among the best of 2022 cannot be taken for a mistake.
Polite Moyo (Ngezi Platinum Stars)
The Ngezi Platinum captain has been in impressive form in most of the matches that he featured for the Mhondoro-based outfit and if consistency is a key in the selection of soccer stars of the year list, then Moyo’s exclusion will be treasonous.
Coach of the year
This one will require very little to justify and the winner must be, or rather should be Norman Mapeza.