Benza, Chadya on cloud nine Tino Benza

Tadious Manyepo-Sports Reporter

HERENTALS forward Tino Benza and Ngezi Platinum Stars goalkeeper Nelson Chadya are over the moon after retaining their places on the Soccer Stars calendar for the 2023 season.

The 11 players who illuminated the scene in this year’s championship which was won by Ngezi Platinum Stars were selected by a panel of voters including journalists, coaches and captains yesterday. 

Only Benza and Chadya found their way, for the second year running, amongst the finest 11 players from the crop that made it last season.

Even with a decent outing in the just-ended Premiership season from which he scored seven goals and provided three assists, outgoing Soccer Star of the Year Walter Musona of FC Platinum failed to gatecrash the calendar this time around. 

His closest pursuer last season, CAPS United’s William Manondo and Dynamos captain Frank Makarati were not up to scratch and predictably fell by the wayside. 

The other players who were on the calendar last time including Delic Murimba, Divine Mhindirira, Gift Bello, Wallace Magalane, Eli Ilunga and Brian Muza couldn’t make it either. 

But Benza and Chadya put on the shift and were popular amongst voters yesterday. 

Of course, there are players who some thought deserved to be amongst the Best 11 like Mtokozisi Msebe, Brian Banda, Peter Muduhwa, Makarati, Davison Marowa, Bret Amidu, Brian Chikwenya, Moses Demera, Boid Mutukure, Kudzai Chigwida and Gareth Madhake but it’s always like that, and it’s understandable, everyone cannot agree to these outcomes. 

For now, Benza and Chadya along with Ariel Sibanda, Andrew Mbeba, Obriel Chirinda, Fortune Binzi, Donald Mudadi, Tanaka Shandirwa, Qadr Amini, Takunda Benhura and Michael Charamba can party after being selected as the country’s Best 11 for this season.

And for Benza and Chadya, it is even sweeter. 

“I am very happy to have found my way on the calendar again this season. I first made it last year after scoring four goals and providing 10 assists. 

“This time around, I scored six goals and also weighed in with 10 assists. I am very happy,” said Benza. 

“Obviously it was tough playing against some seasoned teams and players but as Herentals, we tried our best and finished sixth on the log. I dedicate this award to all the Herentals family”.

Benza was the mainstay of the Herentals outfit that finished sixth on the log as he scored spectacular goals against former champions FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars. 

He was directly involved in Herentals’ goals sixteen times. 

On the other hand, Chadya, who won the Goalkeeper of the Year award last year could as well retain the accolade although he will face stiff competition from Ariel Sibanda who kept the most clean-sheets in the season. 

But Chadya was the driver of the Ngezi Platinum young orchestra in the field of play and he can as well win the big one come Friday when the banquet for the stars is held in Harare.

“Returning to the calendar for the second season running is the ultimate achievement. I am very happy for myself and the team,” said Chadya. 

“The season was very tough but I am grateful we ended up as the champions. I would like to thank God and the entire Ngezi Platinum Stars. Our Premiership is very competitive and getting to the calendar for a straight time is something worth celebrating”.

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