BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The Soccer Star of the Year gong may have come much later than many anticipated in the career of the gifted CAPS united midfield maestro Joel ‘Josta’ Ngodzo, but it came as no surprise to the player who has etched his name in Zimbabwe football folklore.
After finishing as runner-up nearly a decade ago and making it to the calendar last year, Ngodzo reckons he knew that his time had come to win the biggest individual prize in local football.
Ngodzo was announced the winner at a colourful banquet to mark the golden jubilee of the awards held at Manna Resorts in Harare on Friday night.
The Golden Jubilee Awards saw former winners in the past 50 years being honoured by the organisers.
Triangle’s Ralph Kawondera and Prince Dube of Highlanders emerged first and second runner-up respectively.
“I was 95% sure that I would win this award this year because as a midfielder I am full of goals, I am the top scorer in my team and I have many assists as well,” Ngodzo told Standardsport soon after winning the award.
“Obviously I am happy to be the soccer star especially because it is my first time to be one.
“But in the past years I have come close, I remember in 2010 I was first runner up to Charles Sibanda and last year I was among the best 11, so this year I must thank God that I became a winner. I knew that one day I would win it.”
A product of Bulawayo giants Highlanders, Ngodzo made it into the podium of the soccer stars awards nine years ago after leading Bosso to a third place finish.
Back then Josta, now 30, was one of the brightest prospects in the local game before his career veered off track reportedly due to alcohol and drug abuse, brushes with the law and general indiscipline after a mega money transfer to FC Platinum in 2011.
But his move to CAPS United in 2015 somewhat revived his career and he has been slowly getting back to his former best.
“I am a Highlanders product and to come and be accepted at CAPS United like they have done for me is a big thing and I would like to dedicate this award to the CAPS United family. My teammates also kept telling me that I should keep working hard and it shall be well, so I salute them,” Ngodzo said.
Earlier this year the player told this publication that he had set himself a target of 10 goals for the season, a target he achieved with relative ease. But what’s next for the midfield genius after winning the biggest individual gong in Zimbabwe football?
The league championship and a big move abroad, perhaps?
“I am not sure about that but I have learnt that God’s time is the always the best. I have to work hard and maybe it (a big move abroad) will happen,” he said.
Ngodzo comes from a footballing family where his brothers Johannes and Zephaniah were footballers of repute while the former was second runner up in the 2002 Soccer Star of the Year awards.
His exploits in the middle of the park and the goals he has contributed have helped CAPS United to the summit of the log standings and are two matches away from winning their second championship in three years.