Meet the ‘Most Consistent 11 Soccer Stars of the Year’ George Shaya

Charles Mabika Special Correspondent

THE 2022 Soccer Star of the Year award winner and his two runners-up are set to be unveiled next Friday at an event in the capital with FC Platinum’s stylish forward, Walter “Walaza” Musona, the odds-on favourite to grab his maiden title.

For the past two decades, most of the Soccer Star of the Year finalists have flattered for a mere season or two and then disappointingly deceived thereafter whilst some have totally “disappeared” from the game itself forever.

Two-time winner and former “Pure Platinum Play” midfield magician, Rodwell “Amla” Chinyengetere, who was a finalist in 2012 and was then crowned the top artist in 2017 and 2018, and former Motor Action’s talisman, Clement “Naughty Flea” Matawu, who won the top award in 2006 and has a staggering nine total appearances on the calendar, are the only two notable and consistent performers for the past 20 years in the event’s statistics manual.

This is in stark contrast to the awesome consistency displayed by yesteryear players since the inception of the prestigious award in 1969 such that we had many players who vied for the top award year in and out.

Such was the fiery competition for this award that after the selection at the end of each season, anyone from the 11 finalists had an equal chance to win it, a far cry from the norm nowadays.

The following are the “Most Consistent 11 Soccer Stars” whom I came up with after going through the competition’s statistics for the past half-a-century of its existence, based on the number of appearances, wins and runners-up berths.

  1. George Shaya — The five-time record winner who is also widely regarded as the finest player to come out of this country, easily scoops pole position for his amazing and consistent performances for one-and-a-half decades.

The late  “Mastermind’’ was the heartbeat of Dynamos and pre-Independence inspirational skipper who always dished out delicious menus that satisfied the hunger of his thousands of fans both at club and national level.

  1. Stanley Ndunduma — The tearaway right wing wizard who scooped the top award twice (1981, 1985) to amass a whopping total of seven appearances on the finalists’ stage.

‘’Sinyo” is also the only player to win the top award with two different clubs – CAPS United and Black Rhinos.

  1. Rodwell Chinyengetere — The combative and attacking midfielder who defied a horrific injury in 2012 at Hwange FC (when he made his first Soccer Stars finalists’ appearance) to return and capture the top title for two successive seasons.

However, he has struggled to regain his brilliant outings since moving from FC Platinum to CAPS United at the end of 2021.

  1. Peter Ndlovu — Won the top award twice in Highlanders’ colours (1990, 1991) before being spotted by England professional outfit Coventry City after that second win and only God knows how many more appearances he would have made on the Soccer Stars calendar.

The former Warriors skipper went on to unearth his gold bullion performances in England for a record-breaking 13 years as the longest-serving African player in that country’s top-flight league.

  1. Clement Matawu – One of the finest attacking midfielders ever seen on our fields and scooped the top award in 2006 whilst playing for Motor Action. He would later venture into Europe where he had some fine outings in Poland’s top-flight league before returning home and continue his dance in the Soccer Stars competition, this time at Chicken Inn.

Matawu retired at the end of 2021 and is now one of head coach Joey Antipas’ technical backroom staff at “The Gamecocks”.

  1. Japhet Mparutsa — The former Dynamos and Black Rhinos ‘keeper is widely regarded as the second finest pair of hands produced in the land after Bruce “Jungleman” Grobbelaar.

“The Short Cat” won the top award in 1982 – the first ‘keeper to do that — and had six total appearances in the competition and holds the record of being the only ‘keeper to be the first choice at Under-20, Under-23 and the senior squad for Zimbabwe at the same time.

  1. Mercedes Sibanda — A bone-muscled and bow-legged right wing back combatant who packed a wallop from free-kicks and lifted the glittering trophy in 1987.

“Rambo”, who sparkled for “Bosso” and the “Warriors” during his illustrious career, featured for a total of four appearances that included two runners-up berths in the Soccer Stars competition.

  1. Stanford Mutizwa — A renowned dribbling wizard who was also a spot-kick specialist, “Stix” also served as a Warriors’ captain.

The former “Makepekepe” and “Chauya Chipembere” midfield general was in the Soccer Stars finalists’ entourage a massive nine times in total and was a runner-up on two of those occasions. Was unlucky not to win the coveted title in 1989.

  1. Joel Shambo — A master ball juggler and flamboyant midfield Trojan horse who was also a magical ball winner both on the ground and in the air for his beloved “Makepekepe” and the “Warriors”.

“Jubilee” consistently featured in the competition a staggering six times and was runner-up twice.

  1. Sunday Chidzambwa — Regarded by many as the finest centre-back ever seen locally, “Mhofu” was a powerhouse skipper and operator both for his club “DeMbare” and the “Warriors’’.

He performed consistently throughout his career where he garnered five Soccer Star finalists’ appearances that included two runners-up medals before succumbing to a career-ending injury in 1983.

  1. Joseph Zulu — A left wing speed merchant at Rio Tinto and the “Warriors”, he is undoubtedly the greatest player ever to play for the Kadoma gold miners.

“The Doctor” made five consistent appearances in the Soccer Stars competition for over a decade of dedicated service.

So the challenge is now on for all this year’s Soccer Star finalists: Who will be back in it at the end of next season?

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