BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
HE might have played just half a season for Chicken Inn before trekking down south but Maritzburg United striker Clive Augusto looks on course to win the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Golden Boot.
Augusto scored 14 in goals in 17 matches as he exhibited rampant form from the start of the season.
Astonishingly, no one is yet to catch with the striker as the league championship will be wrapping up in five matches after this weekend’s fixtures in a major indictment of the chronic shortage of strikers in Zimbabwean football.
The former Ngezi and Chicken Inn striker’s closest rivals include Dynamos striker Evans Katema and CAPS United midfield maestro Joel Ngodzo who are tied on 10 goals.
And the rate at which the chasing pack is scoring goals, it is difficult to see anybody eclipsing Augusto’s haul.
This will be the ninth year since a player scored less than 20 goals in the local league after Norman Maroto achieved the feat in 2010.
But in the last two seasons CAPS United’s Dominic Chungwa and reigning soccer star of the year Rodwell Chinyengetere scored 17, in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Former Soccer star of the year Stewart Murisa, who had been doing extra with CAPS United strikers as part of the backroom staff feels the country has failed to develop strikers from junior level.
“This problem of goals has been around for a while. I remember in recent years someone won the golden boot with just 11 goals, which is definitely not good for the country,” Murisa told The Sports Hub.
In 2016, Leonard Tsipa scooped the top goal scorer award after netting a measly 11 goals in CAPS United’s successful league campaign.
“It’s not that there are no strikers in the country but I feel we have neglected the development of players at junior level. During our playing days, we used to compete in scoring goals with players from other teams in the junior leagues,” Murisa said
“This is where future strikers were made. But we do not have a national junior league anymore as well as regional tournaments. “We need to develop them at a young age but now we have player, who just emerge in the league at 28 years and have no traceable background of football development,” he added.
Lately prolific scorers in the country, like Augusto are being snapped up by South African sides during the mid-season transfer window as happened to Terrence Dzvukamanja and Bukhosi Sibanda in the past couple of years.
Former Chicken Inn striker Tendai Ndoro, who won the top marksman award in 2013 with 18 goals, did not finish the season. He moved to Cape Town City.
Augusto could emulate Ndoro, who only played half the season to win the top gong should no one surpass his 14 goal tally, but so far the other players have done a bad job of it.
Of interest is also the fact that in 2015, Knox Mtizwa won the golden boot after scoring 14 goals in 17 matches, exactly the same figures as Augusto.
“When the leading scorer leaves the country at the halfway stage of the season, it should motivate the competitors to want to take the initiative. It’s surprising how our strikers are struggling to reach the 14-goal mark set by Augusto three months ago.
“This should have been an opportunity for another player to grab the spotlight and win the golden boot. And if they win the golden boot they will also earn themselves an opportunity for a move to foreign leagues,” Murisa said.
The fact that Ngodzo, a midfielder is joint second in the race for the golden boot says a lot about the quality of strikers in the local league.
CAPS United striker John Zhuwawu is fourth in the race with eight goals while five players have scored seven goals each going into this weekend’s league matches.
The sports fraternity awaits to see whether someone will step up to the blade in the last five league matches to pip Augusto to the golden boot award.
But it is highly unlikely that anyone will reach the 20-goal mark.
Players that have scored 20 or more goals since 200 include record scorer in the modern premier league Chipo Tsodzo, who notched up 27 strikes for Masvingo United in 2001.
The previous season Railstars’ Zambian import Mulenga Chewe recorded 24 as well as Zenzo Moyo, who netted 21 times for Highlander in 2002.
Evans Chikwaikwai finished with 23 goals for Njube Sundown in 2008, while Nyasha Mushekwi managed 21 a year later before Maroto got in on the act with 22 for Gunners in 2010.