The list includes Washington Arubi, George Magariro (Dynamos), Rahman Kutsanzira and Graham Ncube (Highlanders) Donald Ngoma and Tafadzwa Dube (FC Platinum), Cliff Sekete (Gunners), Allan Gahadzikwa (Motor Action), Tapiwa Kumbuyani (CAPS United) Nkosana Siwela (Hwange) and Brian Abbas Amidu from Black Mambas. They came out as the best in a selection that for the first time included league coaches as well.
However, as is always the case after every selection, questions are being asked whether the list is a true reflection of what transpired in the season.
Like years gone by, this year has not been an exception with fans questioning the inclusion and exclusion of some of the players. But football fans have to understand one thing; soccer stars selection is done with the panelists being guided by a set of rules and regulations.
The sponsors, Delta Beverages and Premier Soccer League came up with a new set of rules that have seen some outstanding players being left out of the final list.
From the time that I have been part of the selection panel, I have since discovered that some of the rules and regulations have not been fair on our players.
Last year we had unpleasing incidents rocking the soccer star selection when a section of journalists argued that Washington Arubi and Ashley Rambanepasi were not supposed to be part of the best 11 as they had incited the violence that rocked Bulawayo in the BancABC semifinal that pitted Highlanders and DeMbare.
The two had had a brilliant season for DeMbare but were left out of the best 11 because some people claimed that they had started the violence. The two were not arrested by the police, suspended by PSL or by their clubs nor even by the courts of law.
But the truth of the matter is you cannot take away anything from a good player; Arubi has finally made it. He is part of the best 11 players for the 2011 soccer season.
Again another player who was a cut above the rest, was left out due to rules and regulations that are tempered with on a yearly basis. Golden Boot Award winner Rodrick Mutuma who finished the season on 14 goals was disqualified from the best 11 players of the season for accumulating a total of 6 yellow cards. In his debut season in the top flight league Mutuma acquitted himself well at DeMbare, scoring 14 goals to land the Golden Boot Award.
Apart from that, he won the Mbada Diamonds Cup man of the match award when DeMbare booted out Shooting Stars from the 16-team tournament before winning yet another Mbada Diamonds Award for scoring the last goal of the tournament. But 24 hours earlier, he had missed out on the list of the best 11 players in the country for the 2011 soccer season.
I see nothing wrong with the 11 players that were selected, but we have to stick to rules and regulations that have been used in the past to select soccer stars for the past years.
We used to know that if a player was once suspended by his club like what happened to Mthulisi Maphosa, a player being arrested and going on to pay an admission of guilt fine like what happened to Charles Sibanda or if a player was once suspended by PSL or any courts of law, he would no longer be eligible for selection.
A player would not be eligible for selection when he would have accumulated seven yellow cards or three red cards. A player would be eligible for selection if he played 15 league matches. But this time around the rules changed with a player being eligible for selection after playing only 10 games while yellow cards were reduced to six and red cards to two.
Was the move aimed at accommodating certain players who spent much of the season seating on the bench?
By Brian Nkiwane
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