Fans tip Tsipa for the big one
CAPS United striker Leonard Tsipa is the fans’ favourite to land the coveted Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year award.
In a snap survey conducted in Bulawayo’s central business district yesterday, the Caps United gunman, whose 11 Premiership goals propelled the Harare giants to the Premiership title, emerged favourite to win the award at tonight’s ceremony to be held in Harare.
The 11 Soccer Star of the Year finalists are Tsipa, his teammates Ronald Pfumbidzai and Hardlife Zvirekwi, FC Platinum’s trio of Winton Mhango, Petros Mhari and Wisdom Mutasa, Highlanders’ Peter Muduhwa, last year’s finalist Clemence Matawu of Chicken Inn, Hwange’s Gift Mbweti, Libert Chakoroma from Ngezi Platinum and Dynamos’ Godknows Murwira.
Pardon Marova, a Dynamos supporter said champions Caps United will have two players in the top three, with Tsipa being the Soccer Star of the Year.
“To be honest Tsipa really had an influence at Caps United and his 11 goals were crucial in his team’s championship run. If you look at it, opponents planned their game plan around Tsipa and he was never overwhelmed as he used his experience to give opposition defenders hard times. If he wasn’t scoring, he was drawing defenders out of positions, thereby opening a corridor which his teammates exploited. For that reason, Tsipa will be my first choice with either Zvirekwi or Pfumbidzai being in the top three,” Marova said.
Nyasha Chiweshe heaped praises on Tsipa who he said showed youngsters that there is no substitute for quality.
“Obviously people wanted to see lots of goals but I think for an old player like Tsipa (34) to score more goals than younger players makes him exceptional in this league. His contribution at Caps United saw them end an 11-year championship drought and he was exemplary throughout the season notwithstanding that incident when he reacted to Peter Muduhwa’s challenge at Barbourfields which earned him a red card,” said Chiweshe. Blessed Gumbo said the race for the top gong is between Tsipa and Zvirekwi. “Tsipa scored goals which mattered but Zvirekwi as team captain was inspirational. It will be a tight contest between the two,” Gumbo said. Dumaza Dube said Tsipa is the best player available in the local league. “In terms of form he was consistent besides scoring few goals compared to yesteryear strikers. Despite his age, the young boys failed to rise to the occasion. Would’ve loved to see Prince Dube shine but the youngster fizzled out when Bruce Kangwa and Knox Mutizwa left. He needed what is called cognitive apprenticeship (simply put, learning from those who know) but Ralph Matema didn’t provide that,” said Dube.
Thandeka Moyo said her top three are Winston Mhango, Peter Muduhwa and Hardlife Zvirekwi.
“FC Platinum failed to click in games where Mhango was absent and Muduhwa was solid for Highlanders in defence while Zvirekwi also played a big part at Caps United.”
Ashton Mhlanga said: “What people should be questioning is, are we developing players as a country because it really doesn’t make sense to see old horses like Tsipa coming from the doldrums to dominate the local scene. You also have Matawu overshadowing youngsters. I was happy to see someone like Peter (Muduhwa) making his debut season count. Even though I thought either Bruce Kangwa or Rahman Kutsanzira deserved to be in the final 11, Tsipa remains the best on the list.” Vusa Sibanda bemoaned lack of consistency. “The present crop lacks foresight and they’re easily distracted with those off the field incidents affecting their play. The best talent is not being recognised mainly because they’re not represented by the big shots, that is they don’t play for big clubs like Highlanders, Dynamos and Caps United. There are players like MacClive Phiri of Tsholotsho FC and James Nguluve of Ngezi Platinum who in my view had a great season. Maybe selectors saw something different and from those that they selected I think Tsipa, Muduhwa and Mhango should be in the top three.”