PLATINUM NIGHT

The Herald

Mukudzei Chingwere and   Tedious Manyepo
A CAREER that promised so much is finally being rewarded towards its tail end as Rodwell Chinyengetere retained the Castle Soccer Star of the Year award, joining the exclusive club of legendary stalwarts — Stanley Ndunduma, Peter Ndlovu and George Shaya — for the towering recognition.

Chinyengetere showed a lot of promise in the early stages of his career before it was halted by an injury which almost ended it.

The 30-year-old former Hwange forward has returned to his best at FC Platinum.

Last year, he helped Pure Platinum Play win the league’s ultimate prize for the first time in their history and capped off a brilliant campaign on an individual basis by being voted the best player for 2017.

The Zimbabwe international, for the second successive year, followed up on his brilliance by helping his paymasters to another league success after outscoring everyone in the elite league.

At last night’s banquet in the capital, Chinyengetere joined the inimitable league of Ndunduma, Shaya and Ndlovu by being named as the best player in the local Premier League in successive years.

Chinyengetere’s exploits have not gone unnoticed and he has now joined fresh pastures at South African Premiership side Baroka, where he is expected to start training early next year.

Although he touched the heavens with his latest award, Chinyengetere refused to be equated to the likes of Ndlovu and Shaya.

The Warriors forward insisted that he “was nowhere near the qualities of Ndlovu and Shaya’’ but was humbled to have joined the club of legends.

“I am over the moon, it is a dream come true (and) I would like to thank God for the grace he continues to give me.

“It is an extraordinary feeling. I am nowhere near the legendary Peter Ndlovu and George Shaya and I am, therefore, humbled to have joined that club of legends who have won the Soccer Star accolade twice in a row,” Chinyengetere said.

“I want to thank everyone who supported me this year and throughout my career. It would not have been possible for me to be here without the support of my coach Norman Mapeza and my teammates.

“Football is a team game and one cannot become successful on the field of play without his teammates being good players. I salute them, and not forgetting my family for their unwavering support” .

Chinyengetere said it was miracle that only God could explain that he bounced back from a horrific injury and took his career to the top.

“I wouldn’t have been here today after suffering that injury, but I would like to believe that God had planned it that way. I can only say that the power of the Lord is being witnessed.

“I would like to thank FC Platinum for giving me the platform to relaunch my career,” said Chinyengetere.

After a brilliant season with Harare City, Young Warriors star Tatenda Tumba, who is away on national duty with the COSAFA Under-20 side was named the Rookie of the Year.

Talented former Triangle United forward Lameck Nhamo, who  finished the season as the second top goal scorer behind Chinyengetere, was also coincidentally voted number two behind his two new teammate at FC Platinum Chinyengetere.

Nhamo has since joined FC Platinum and teamed up with Chinyengetere, they will  be trusted outlets for goals to lead the miners to the group stages of the African Safari.

For the second year running, Warriors central defender Kevin Moyo was voted among the top three.

This time around the defender was the second runner-up, failing to surpass a personal achievement of being first runner-up last year.

Moyo has been a pillar at the heart of the miners defence and is now a regular in Sunday Chidzambwa’s Warriors team.

His attributes have not gone unnoticed as well and has during the course of the year been linked with a number of South African Premiership teams, including SuperSport United who are coached by compatriot Kaitano Tembo.

Apart from Chinyengetere and Moyo, FC Platinum also had midfielder Farai Madhanhanga among the best XI players, while Mapeza retained the Coach of the Year award.

Mapeza did not say much, but attributed his fine moment to hard work after he recovered from a back surgery to inspire his miners to success with two games to spare and a massive 13-point advantage over their nearest rivals Ngezi.

“I am happy, especially since this year was a difficult year due to the back surgery, but still I realised that hard work pays off. Many thanks to everyone who did the voting.

“In terms of the next season, I cannot predict the future, but I can promise that I will do my best just like always,’’ Mapeza said.

“As for the incoming coaches and my fellow coaches, my advice to them is that hard work pays off indefinitely and perseverance is key,’’ Mapeza said.

There was a share of the spoils as veteran Ruzive Ruzive and Norman Matemera were named joint winners of Referee of the Year gong.