Lone Warrior Fights for Recognition

TERRENCE Dzvukamanja is fancying his chances of winning his first top individual accolade after he was nominated in this year’s South Africa Premier Soccer League 2020 Awards.

The attacking midfielder, who recently joined giants Orlando Pirates, will be the only Zimbabwean vying for an individual end-of-year prize on a shortlist comprising more than 25 players and officials across 11 categories.

The 26-year old former Ngezi Platinum forward is in the running for the Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament where he faces stiff competition from Victor Letsoalo of Bloemfontein Celtic and defender Motjeka Madisha, who helped champions Mamelodi Sundowns secure a treble.

The award carries a R150 000 prize money.

The 2020 edition of the PSL Awards will be held this Thursday and, for the first time, it will be a virtual event because of Covid-19 restrictions.

“First and foremost, I would want to think the Almighty for His guidance,” said Dzvukamanja.

“I am happy for the nomination and it’s a great achievement for me. But, I would want to give credit to my coaches, my teammates and the supporters.

“I also get a lot of support from my family and my management team back home. It’s been a mixed season but I want to thank the PSL management team for this recognition.”

Apart from Dzvukamanja, there was no other Zimbabwean nominated for an award this year.

Most of his compatriots had below par performances in the 2019/20 season. Zimbabwe were last year represented by the duo of Khama Billiat and Elvis Chipezeze at the PSL end-of-year awards. Billiat was shortlisted for the Nedbank Cup award last year but lost out to Zakhele Lepasa of TS Galaxy, who were surprise champions.

Goalkeeper Chipezeze scooped the Telkom Knockout Player of the Tournament following a successful run with Baroka.

There will be no Zimbabwean, in contention for the top PSL Awards, since Billiat swept the boards in 2016 by winning the Player of the Season, Players’ Player of the Season and the Best Midfielder of the Season.

This year, the Footballer of the Season is a four-horse race featuring Billiat’s Kaizer Chiefs teammate Samir Nurkovic, Peter Shalulile (Highlands Park) and the Mamelodi Sundown duo of Gaston Sirino and Themba Zwane.

The Absa Premiership Player’s Player of the Season will be contested by Kaizer Chiefs’ Lebogang Manyama and the Sundowns pair of Hlompho Kekana and Zwane.

Dzvukamanja made three appearances in the Nedbank tournament and scored four goals to help the now-defunct Bidvest Wits reach the semi-finals.

He scored twice, in the 4-0 demolition of second-tier side Real Kings, in the last eight. The semi-final tie against Sundowns was always not going to be easy. Dzvukamanja scored a brace in that match and walked away with the man-of-the-match award.

However, his exploits were in vain as Bidvest Wits suffered a 3-2 defeat to the Brazilians, who went on to lift the Cup.

He finished top of the scoring charts ahead of Thabiso Kutumela of Maritzburg United and Namibian Peter Shalulile.

Zimbabwe international striker, Nyasha Mushekwi, won the Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament in 2012 when he was with Mamelodi Sundowns, and walked away with R100 000. The team that wins the tournament usually produces the best player but Dzvukamanja’s manager, Gibson Mahachi, believes the lanky forward has good chances of winning his first accolade at the prestigious end-of-year banquet.

“The fact that he scored a couple of goals in this tournament and, at some point, was chosen man-of-the-match, says a lot about his ability as a foreign player.

“His chances are just as good as the other two guys that have been nominated. When you look at the shortlist, I think any one of the players can win it.

“Imagine how many players took part in this competition and the selectors settled for those three?

They all did well to get there, good luck to Terry,” said Mahachi.

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