THE Zimbabwe senior football team, the Warriors, have been nominated for the Caf Team of the Year award in recognition of their outstanding performance in the past year.
BY HENRY MHARA
The Sunday Chidzambga-coached side is the current Cosafa Cup champions and on the verge of booking a ticket for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.
Zimbabwe top Group G in the qualifiers and need to avoid a defeat at home to Congo Brazzaville next March to seal their place at the continental premier football tournament set for Cameroon.
They have been nominated in the category alongside Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Mauritania, Uganda and Kenya.
Chidzambga’s men have had a remarkable year, winning the Cosafa Cup in South Africa, and losing just once in the ongoing Afcon qualifiers in a campaign that saw them picking four points against a very strong Democratic Republic of Congo side, and also beating Liberia at home.
They drew away to Congo Brazzaville and their only defeat of the campaign was away to Liberia, where they lost 1-0.
Thirty-four men players and 15 women players have been nominated for the Player of the Year Award, among them last year’s winner Egyptian Mohammed Salah, who plays for English Premier League side Liverpool.
Unlike last year when Khama Billiat was one of the nominees, no Zimbabwean player has made the provisional list this time around, which will be whittled down in the coming weeks.
The winners for the African Player of the Year and Women’s Player of the Year will be decided by a Caf technical and development committee, media experts, legends, coaches of the quarter-finalists of the Caf Champions League Confederation Cup as well as coaches and captains of the national teams of the 54-member associations that make up the continental football body.
The awards gala to honour footballers and officials who distinguished themselves during the year under review, will be held on January 8 in Dakar, Senegal.
Meanwhile, Warriors star Rodwell Chinyengetere has joined the Great Trek down South after he was snapped up by South African Premiership side Baroka FC.
Finer details of the deal have not been made public, but the Polokwane side confirmed the capture of the reigning Castle Lager Premiership Soccer Star of the Year on their official Twitter account.
Sources said the FC Platinum attacking midfielder, who is the favourite to retain the league’s best gong, signed a two-year contract and will be eligible to start playing for his new club in January.
“You thought we were done? Please help us in welcoming the newly-signed Zimbabwean international striker Rodwell Chinyengetere,” the club posted on the microblogging site.
Chinyengetere becomes the third player at Bakgaga, joining Warriors teammate Talent Chawapiwa and goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze, two players who have made a huge impact since joining the team.
He was outstanding for the Zvishavane side in the last two seasons, helping them nick back-to-back league titles.
The former Hwange star scored 17 goals for the club this season, to top the scoring chats in the premier league.
He was voted among the 11 outstanding footballers of the season on Wednesday, and is the favourite to retain the Soccer Star of the Year award.
His achievements are astonishing for a player who thought his career was over in 2012, after a serious injury while playing for Hwange before his move to FC Platinum in 2016.