Highlanders provided the highest number of players in the XI 2012 Soccer Stars, selected in Harare yesterday.
REPORT BY BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Captain Innocent Mapuranga, the midfield duo of Masimba Mambare and Mthulisi Maphosa, as well as goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, made it into the best 11, while Dynamos and Chicken Inn contributed two players each.
Denver Mukamba and Partson Jaure came from DeMbare while Chicken Inn had teenage midfielder Kudakwashe Mahachi and defender Felix Chindungwe.
The vote, conducted by a 44- member panel consisting of sports writers, premiership coaches and the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe, would see the Soccer Star of the Year and his two runners-up being announced at a banquet slated for December 14 in the capital.
Coach of the Year and the Most Promising Player, voted for those under the age of 20, would also be announced on the same day.
But headlining the dinner night would be this season’s best player, whose name would be engraved in Zimbabwe’s football folklore.
Also making it into the best XI was Monomotapa’s diminutive midfielder Ronald Chitiyo and Hwange striker Rodwell Chinyengetere.
The season’s top-goal scorer Nelson Mazivisa was hard to ignore with his 18-goal heroics that carried Shabanie Mine this season.
From the coaches who voted, only Dynamos and FC Platinum were not represented, just like last year, while CAPS United coach Mkupali Masuku was ineligible to be voted for the best coach after having been in charge for less than 10 matches.
The Zimbabwe Football Association read the Riot Act on players and coaches implicated in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal, which effectively ruled out Shabanie Mine coach Luke Masomere, Joey Antipas and Taurai Mangwiro.
Players affected by Asiagate were Monomotapa goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi, Ali Sadiki and Dynamos’ left-back Ocean Mushure.
Hwange and Chipolopolo defender Aaron Katebe was ruled out for accumulating two red cards.