Home » Sports » Did Limited Ride On Emotions?

LIMITED Chikafa’s tale of courage, from battling a heart ailment that appeared to have brought his successful football career to an abrupt end to coming close to winning a league title again, has not only touched but inspired many people in this country. Just three years ago, Chikafa lay on his hospital bed in Harare, battling a heart ailment and mounting medical bills, abandoned by the club that he was playing for in Bulawayo having been aised by his coach then that he needed to be close to someone who could take care of him.

“When he left I helped him with fuel as I aised him to be with his wife who could watch over him,” Philani “Beefy” Ncube, who was his coach then, told The Herald.

For Chikafa, and his family, what mattered was his life and football was a just another game played on a different planet.

But, being the fighter that he is, Chikafa has battled his way back into the game and was this year part of the ZPC Kariba team that came within 90 minutes of winning the Castle Lager Premiership title, in their first season in the top-flight league.

On Friday, Chikafa was named one of the three best players in the domestic Premiership in the just-ended season with a panel of journalists and coaches deciding that only his teammates, Dennis Dauda and Tendai Hove, played better football in the top-flight league.

A refreshingly honest man, Chikafa said he was surprised to be named among the best three players.

“I never anticipated it. Of course, it was a big surprise but a pleasant one,” he told our sister newspaper, H-Metro.

“There were players whom I thought were going to be favourites for the top positions. In my mind, I knew one or two players from my club would make it in the top three but I never thought I will be part of the trio.”

But was Chikafa really part of the top three players in the domestic Premiership this year or his place, among the three best players in the league, is yet another example of how the voting for the awards have lost the compass that used to guide them in the past?

Maybe, Chikafa was rewarded by those who cast their votes for his touching story but should emotions be used in this game to decide who should be named the best?

If emotions were to be the guiding light, then maybe the selectors should have given ZPC Kariba playmaker Raphael Manuvire an award, for being the best player in the Premiership, by the time he suffered his horrific injury — just four games short of making the number of games needed to qualify for these awards.

By naming Chikafa as the third best player in the league, the selectors also named him as the best forward in the Premiership, as the other two players, who finished ahead of him in the poll, were a defender and a goalkeeper.

But was Chikafa the best forward in the Premiership?

He scored nine goals, not a bad return in a season in which the Golden Boot winners ended with a dozen goals, but it’s a fact that two other players — Charles Sibanda of Highlanders and Kuda Musharu of How Mine — scored more goals than him.

In fact, they scored three goals more and, when you are working with a scenario where the leading goal-scorer had 12 goals, they represent a huge percentage aantage.

Their weakness, though, appears to be that they scored most of their goals early in the season and, by the time that the selectors sat down to vote for the stars of the domestic Premiership, their contribution had been largely forgotten.

Others will say that Chikafa was also used, now and again, wide on the right side of his team’s attack, but Sibanda was not Highlanders’ central forward and that he scored 12 goals, three more than his ZPC Kariba counterpart, tells its story.

Chikafa did not score a goal in the first five games of the season, when ZPC Kariba won two games, including a big victory over Dynamos, and drew three other matches, with Artwell Nyamiwa their hero with two match-winning goals against DeMbare and Harare City.

He eventually found the target in the sixth match of the season, a 5-1 demolition of Triangle in Chiredzi, where Manuvire scored twice, and he would fail to find the target again until the 11th game of the season, when they beat Chapungu 1-0 at Gwanzura.

Another goal, in the 14th game of the season against Hwange at the Colliery, gave Chikafa a return of three goals in the first half of the season and Nyamiwa was already on five, even though he was making cameo roles and coming in as a super-substitute.

After his goal against Hwange, Chikafa would fail to score in nine games, ending his barren run in the 3-1 win over Highlanders, when he scored twice in Bulawayo, probably making a huge impression on the selection panel in that part of the country.

Of course, he scored in the last four games of the season against Buffaloes (one), Harare City (two), Dynamos (one) and CAPS United (one), probably making a huge impression on the selection panel in the capital given that these games were all played in Harare.

But should someone earn the stripes of being named the third best player in the Premiership on the basis of his explosion in the last four games of the season?

What about Nyamiwa, whose goals were propelling ZPC Kariba to big victories at the beginning of the season, why should he be forgotten simply because his exploits came at the start of the campaign?

If the panel of selectors felt that what matters is how you finish, fair and fine, but why should this formula be used, in selecting the best players in the league, and not in race for the Coach of the Year given that the man who finished gest, by crossing the line first, was not the one who was honoured?

These are the shortcomings that those who were part of the selection process for this year’s awards have to deal.

ZPC Kariba Results

CAPS 1, ZPC 1 (Tafirenyika)

ZPC 1, Dynamos 0 (Nyamiwa 90th min)

ZPC 1, Harare City 0 (Nyamiwa 81st min)

Buffaloes 0, ZPC 0

ZPC 0, FC Platinum 0

Triangle 1, ZPC 5 (CHIKAFA, Tafirenyika, Mwerahari, Manuvire x2)

ZPC 1 (Mapuranga og), Highlanders 1

Black Rhinos 0, ZPC 0

ZPC 2 (Tafirenyika, Chikede), How Mine 2

Bantu 0, ZPC 0

ZPC 1 (CHAKAFA), Chapungu 0

Shabanie 1, ZPC 1 (Tafirenyika 90)

ZPC 1 (Nyamiwa), Chiredzi 1

Hwange 1, ZPC 2 (Nyamiwa, CHIKAFA)

ZPC 1 (Nyamiwa), Chicken Inn 0

Chicken Inn 0, ZPC 1 (Makura)

ZPC 0, Hwange 0

Chiredzi 1, ZPC 1 (Ranthokoane)

ZPC 3 (Makanje, Tafirenyika, Mukwezaramba), Shabanie 0

Chapungu 3, ZPC 0

ZPC 2 (Mukwezaramba, Mwerahari), Bantu 1

How Mine 3, ZPC 2 (Meleka, Makanje)

ZPC 2 (Munyanduri, Dauda), Rhinos 1

Highlanders 1, ZPC 3 (Tafirenyika, CHIKAFA x 2)

ZPC 1 (Tafirenyika), Triangle 0

FC Platinum 2, ZPC 0

ZPC 3 (CHIKAFA, Mukwezaramba, Makanje0, Buffaloes 1

Harare City 2, ZPC 3 (CHIKAFAx 2, Tafirenyika)

Dynamos 1, ZPC 2 (CHIKAFA, Ranthokoane)

CAPS 3, ZPC 2 (CHIKAFA, Makanje)

Source : The Herald