Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
FOR a striker who is leading the league’s scoring charts, one would expect William Manondo to be vying for the title.
But it is actually the opposite.
Manondo has been the standout performer this year and is the favourite to land the Golden Boot following a brilliant performance in the CAPS United colours.
His decision to follow Lloyd Chitembwe from Harare City to the Green Machine earlier this year has paid off as the forward is currently enjoying arguably his best football in his decade-long Castle Lager Premiership career.
He has scored 15 goals and is currently four better than his closest rival Brian Muza of Chicken Inn, as the league marathon nears its business end.
Manondo has grabbed the bulk of the Green Machine’s goals this season, with 15 of the club’s 26 goals coming off his boot.
This impressive tally has equaled all of his former team Harare City’s goals at this stage of the campaign and has scored one more than all the goals scored by ZPC Kariba players combined, after 28 games.
But his team CAPS United have been so poor, they are still not safe from relegation. Winless in their last four games, Makepekepe can only pray for better fortunes in the last six games of the campaign. The Green Machine have been wallowing in the bottom half of the table for most of the season and it’s certainly not what the 31-year-old striker had anticipated when he joined them back in January, when only two games had been played in the current campaign.
“Playing for CAPS United is like a dream come true, it’s every player’s wish to play for one of the biggest teams during his career,” he told The Herald then.
“And, I’m happy, so far so good. Before I joined them, I challenged myself and told myself that I want to go there and do my best.
“My strength is scoring and I’m good at it so I decided to challenge myself by joining a big club.
“I motivated myself that I could do it and meet the demands of the coach and the club because these big teams demand results week in, week out.
“So if you decide to join a big club, it means that you have to work extra hard and if you’re a striker, they expect you to bang in the goals.
“My target is 20 goals this season, it might not happen because it’s football but that’s my target, and I want to try that,” said Manondo.
But with just about six rounds of play remaining, the ambitious target of surpassing the 20-goal mark could be a difficult proposition. This feat has not been achieved by any Zimbabwean player in over a decade.
Norman Maroto was the last to accomplish that when he banged 22 goals for the now-defunct Premiership side, Gunners in 2010.
“As for my 20-goal target, I am very confident I can achieve that. All I need is to keep working hard and keep scoring, I’m sure I can reach my goal,” said Manondo said in his latest interview with The Herald.
His nearest rival Brian Muza of Chicken Inn appears to have run out of steam. Muza, who got off to a promising start to his debut Premiership season, has not been consistent. He only scored his 11th goal of the season last weekend, after almost three months of trying.
The same misfortune has struck Manica Diamonds’ Nyasha Chintuli, who has found it difficult to move from nine goals.
If anything, Manondo’s quest for the Golden Boot could face a genuine challenge from Highlanders’ leading goal-scorer Lynoth Chikuhwa. The 29-year-old has banged seven goals in Bosso’s last 11 games, to reach a double digit figure in the PSL.
The arrival of coach Baltemar Brito has been a blessing for Chikuhwa who had only managed three goals in 17 first-half games of the 2021/22 season.
Chikuhwa became the first player to reach the 10 goal mark in the league at Highlanders since Knox Mutizwa’s 14 goals in 2015.
“I’m happy to have reached the 10 goal mark but it’s not over, I still want to do more. I’m still working hard to get more goals. It’s not like I’m in a race with the league’s top scorer (Manondo).
“I’m doing what I know and we’ll see the rest at the end of the season,” Chikuhwa told our sister paper, The Chronicle recently.
The other players that have been getting the goals include Black Rhinos’ Eli Illunga (9), Emmanuel Paga of Dynamos (9) and Chintuli (9).
Five other players are tied on eight goals and they include the exciting FC Platinum duo of Walter Musona and Thandolwenkosi Ngwenya, Tadiwa Chibunyu (Cranborne Bullets), Delic Murimba (Ngezi Platinum Stars) and teenage striker Jayden Barake.
Friday: Yadah v Tenax (NSS)
Saturday: Black Rhinos v Harare City (Vengere), Ngezi Platinum v ZPC Kariba (Baobab), Herentals v Cranborne Bullets (NSS), Bulawayo City v Chicken Inn (Barbourfields), Whawha v Culawayo Chiefs (Ascot)
Sunday: Highlanders v FC Platinum (Barbourfields), Manica Diamonds v Dynamos (Sakubva), CAPS Utd v Triangle (NSS)