IT’S HARDY AGAIN ON TOP OF THE WORLD . . . Hardlife Zvirekwi has been confirmed as the best player in the country for 2016 after winning the CAPS United Soccer Star of the Year award last night
ON TOP OF THE WORLD . . . Hardlife Zvirekwi has been confirmed as the best player in the country for 2016 after winning the CAPS United Soccer Star of the Year award last night

ON TOP OF THE WORLD . . . Hardlife Zvirekwi has been confirmed as the best player in the country for 2016 after winning the CAPS United Soccer Star of the Year award last night

Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter—

IT keeps getting better for Castle Soccer Star of the Year Hardlife Zvirekwi, who made it a double of top awards after he scooped the CAPS United Player of the Year gong at a glittering Green Machine ceremony in the capital last night.The Warriors right-back was rewarded for an outstanding season in which he played a key role in helping CAPS United end 11 years of waiting to win the championship.

Zvirekwi also starred for the Warriors as they powered to their third African Cup of Nations appearance with Callisto Pasuwa’s men qualifying with a game to spare.

But last night it was a CAPS United affair and the Makepekepe family came together to honour Zvirekwi for his industry by rewarding him with the club Soccer Star’s award.

Zvirekwi walked away with a trophy and $2 000.

The 29 year-old defender has now amassed $8 000 from awards prize money alone, after being crowned the Castle Lager Premiership player for 2016.

Last night’s event was, however, not just about Zvirekwi as there was some measure of consolation for Phineas Bamusi who missed out on the Castle Soccer Stars calendar.

The slippery winger pocketed $1 500.

Veteran forward Leonard Tsipa, who was also the Castle Lager Premiership Golden Boot winner as well as the Soccer Star first runner up, won the club’s top goal scorer after scoring 11 league goals.

Tsipa who has matured with age had his name called to the podium twice after also winning the Most Loyal Player Award which carried with it $600.

The 2016 championship was Tsipa’s third league title with CAPS United having twice won it in 2004 and 2005.

Tsipa, was however, honoured in absentia as he is in Tanzania.

Left-back Ronald Pfumbidzai, one of the three CAPS United players on the Castle Soccer Stars calendar was recognised by the club supporters, who voted him as their Player of the Year.

The Zimbabwe international got $ 1 000 from the fans.

There was also recognition for young forward Amon Kambanji, who won the Rookie of the Year award.

Kambanji had a memorable Harare derby debut when he scored one of the goals as CAPS United rallied from behind to force a 3-3 draw against eternal rivals Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium.

Midfielder Kudzanai Nyamupfukudza was the Most Improved Player this season while the Most Disciplined Player award went to defender Carlton Munzabwa.

Club president Farai Jere also presented two special awards.

Jere presented the presidential award to a CAPS United supporter Augustine Kaswaurere, whom he described as “a committed, passionate supporter whose presence in his wheel chair is always felt at the club matches and meetings’’.

Kaswaurere was honoured with a token of $500.

Jere, also rewarded his coach, Lloyd Chitembwe, who became the first person to win the league title with CAPS United both as a player and a coach.

Chitembwe returned to the club last year in September and transformed the club’s fortunes from fighting against relegation to champions.

A gritty midfielder during his playing days, Chitembwe who has assumed legendary status at CAPS United got $1 000.

Jere also revealed that the players and coaches are still going to share half of the $100 000 prize money despite PSL docking off $20 800 from their prize money in fines.

“And tonight we gather here to celebrate that success which is owed to the industry of our players, the technical brilliance of our coaching staff, the loyalty and support of our fans, the commitment of our leadership and the support of our staff.

“It’s our night to thank everyone who played a big part and on, behalf of the club’s leadership, I say thank you very much for giving our fans a Christmas gift they will never forget.

“For our players who shone brightly this season, notably Hardlife Zvirekwi, who won the Soccer Star of the Year, and Leonard Tsipa — the Golden Boot winner in this country — we say well done and let this be an inspiration for you to do even better next year,” said Jere.

The Harare businessman said their road to success was not an easy one for the club “hence everyone deserves to be saluted.

“The odds, according to the analysts, were firmly against us and there was no way we could have been the champions this year.

“But those people who doubted us underestimated the resolve that we had in our camp, from the players, the coaching staff, the management, the fans and all our partners, to make ourselves into the kings of domestic football, and we worked on all those areas that needed to be strengthened to make ourselves a very competitive outfit.

“We believed that we had a very good technical team, headed by a very good coach, Lloyd Chitembwe, our son whose commitment to the club’s cause can never be questioned after having won three league titles as a decorated player,” said Jere.

Jere also appealed to corporate entities to partner them as they now venture into Champions League which is a competition that is financially draining given the need to fly across the continent.

Awards:

Player of the Year — Hardlife Zvirekwi — $2 000.

Players Player of the Year — Phineas Bamusi — $1 500.

Top goal scorer — Leonard Tsipa — $1 000.

Supporters Player of the Year — Ronald Pfumbidzai — $1 000.

Rookie of the Year — Amon Kambanji — $600.

Most Improved Player — Kudzanai Nyamupfukudza — $600.

Most Loyal Player — Leonard Tsipa — $600.

Most Disciplined Player — Carlton Munzabwa — $600.

President’s Award Augustine Kaswaurere (supporter) $500

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