Harare City, Ngezi hon­our play­ers

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ta­dious Manyepo Sports Re­porter

DE­FENDER Ray­mond Uchena was yesterday hon­oured for the out­stand­ing role he played for Harare City through­out the sea­son when he landed the club’s Player of the Year award.

The tough as teak cen­tre-back, who formed a solid part­ner­ship with Mun­yaradzi Diro-Nyenye, was hon­oured along with other team­mates at the team’s awards cer­e­mony which also saw play­ers from the women’s team be­ing re­warded.

Uchena was vir­tu­ally flaw­less at the heart of Mark Har­ri­son’s team in a sea­son they largely punched above their weight.

Harare City were ex­pected to strug­gle in the Premier­ship, hav­ing only bounced back from a near flir­ta­tion with Divi­sion One foot­ball af­ter be­ing rel­e­gated last sea­son.

They only re­turned to the top-flight on Premier Soc­cer League’s in­vi­ta­tion which fol­lowed the dis­band­ment of How Mine two weeks be­fore the sea­son com­menced.

But, they gave a good ac­count of them­selves, fin­ish­ing the marathon on ninth place and reach­ing the fi­nal of the Chibuku Su­per Cup where they lost to Tri­an­gle.

The Sun­shine Boys then de­cided yesterday that it was time to cel­e­brate their achieve­ment, with club chair­man Alois Masepe say­ing the team needed to cheer mile­stones at­tained this sea­son.

Be­sides the 28-year old Uchena, right­back Takudzwa Chimwemwe also capped a largely suc­cess­ful sea­son when he won the Play­ers’ Player ac­co­lade.

Chimwemwe was part of the all-conquering War­riors side which won the COSAFA tour­na­ment in Polok­wane, South Africa this year.

As had been ex­pected, for­ward Wil­liam Manondo was hon­oured for his Chibuku Su­per Cup ex­ploits as the tour­na­ment’s best player and top scorer, while the im­prov­ing Wil­fred Mu­vir­imi walked away with the top-scorer’s award.

Mu­vir­imi scored seven goals to help the Sun­shine City Boys fin­ish in the top half of the ta­ble.

Na­tional Un­der-20 tal­is­man Ta­tenda Tumba won the Rookie of the Year gong, with Tell­more Pio bag­ging the Most Dis­ci­plined Player medal, while Learn­more Muyambo claimed the Most Im­proved Player’s prize.

For the women’s team, who only won pro­mo­tion into the Su­per League this sea­son and fin­ished sec­ond be­hind Black Rhi­nos, striker Rewe­sai Mat­seneki emerged the big­gest win­ner as she took home the Player of the Year award as well as the Golden Boot ti­tle.

Their Most Im­proved Player was Pamela Mh­langa, with Seni Kuiswa named the Most Dis­ci­plined Player.

While con­grat­u­lat­ing the win­ners, Masepe said his club was com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing the qual­ity of foot­ball in the coun­try, start­ing from the grass­roots.

Harare City have made huge strides in in­cor­po­rat­ing ju­niors in their struc­tures.

They have a re­serve side play­ing in the first divi­sion, which is the same sce­nario with the women.

Harare City also have acad­emy play­ers who are en­rolled at Wad­dilove High School. Masepe said no real de­vel­op­ment will take place un­less clubs start de­vel­op­ing play­ers from the grass­roots.

“We are pro­po­nents of de­vel­op­ment. We preach grass­roots de­vel­op­ment. First things first. What we are say­ing is, a club can­not af­ford to skip a cer­tain stage of de­vel­op­ment.

“Play­ers must be nur­tured right from a ten­der age up un­til they ma­ture.

“That’s how they can fully grow in terms of tech­nique,” said Masepe.

“Foot­ball is very sci­en­tific and it ought to be treated as such. There are no short cuts in the game, hence we are say­ing at Harare City, we need to de­velop play­ers from a ten­der age.

“We are sec­ond­ing acad­emy play­ers with our twin partners Wad­dilove in our bid to have a com­plete prod­uct. We will con­tinue do­ing that as we want to set high stan­dards for the team in par­tic­u­lar and the coun­try in gen­eral.”

The mu­nic­i­pal club also con­ducted the in­ter-coun­cil pri­mary schools’ tour­na­ment last week as they cast their se­lec­tion net wider.

War­ren Park 4 won the girls cat­e­gory, while Kuwadzana 2 emerged the win­ners in the boys’ sec­tion.

Mean­while, am­bi­tious side Ngezi Plat­inum Stars also hon­oured their play­ers to cel­e­brate a sea­son they fin­ished sec­ond to FC Plat­inum.

Ngezi sacked coach Ton­derai Ndi­raya just five games be­fore the sea­son con­cluded as they got des­per­ate to win the ti­tle, but his re­place­ment Clifton Kadurira could not strike the right chords.

But they were still happy with their sec­ond-place fin­ish and saluted the play­ers for their fight.

God­knows Mur­wira landed the Best Player award, while speed­ster Michael Charamba was voted the Play­ers’ Player of the Sea­son.

Kenneth Bu­laji, who had a good sea­son, took home the Most Dis­ci­plined Player’s ti­tle, with Keith Mur­era be­ing re­warded for his com­mit­ment to the plat­inum min­ers’ cause as he won the Loy­alty ac­co­lade.

Abra­hama Chaodza and Alvin Twayo took home the Rookie of the Year and the Player of the Year (de­vel­op­ment) re­spec­tively.

There was also the Sup­porter of the Year prize for Ruth Mug­wagwa, who watched vir­tu­ally all the team’s games through­out the sea­son.

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