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SOCIAL media exploded last night after it emerged that ZPC Kariba had swept the board at the Premier Soccer League end-of-season awards ceremony with their players and coach taking all the prestigious awards.

ZPC Kariba players took the three top prizes in the Soccer Star of the Year awards with Dennis Dauda becoming the first defender, after Dazzy Kapenya in 2002, to be crowned the best player in the country.

Goalkeeper and team captain Tendai Hove was voted the second best player in the country, and the best goalkeeper in the domestic Premiership, while his teammate Limited Chikafa came third in the race.

ZPC Kariba gaffer, Saul Chaminuka, won the Coach of the Year award.

There was a general expectation that Dauda would be crowned the best player in the Premiership, after he virtually came from nowhere and turned himself into a rock that reminded many of the steel of Ephraim Chawanda, and the style of Alexander Maseko, packaged in a single indomitable defensive pillar.

But, it appears, when Hove and Chikafa also followed him onto the podium, as the second and best players in the Premiership, it triggered controversy, especially in a season in which the Premiership newboys ended up empty-handed.

Having put one hand on the league championship, with a key victory over Dynamos in Week 29 of the programme, ZPC self-destructed, on a dramatic final day of the season, losing 2-3 to CAPS United at Gwanzura.

That loss, coupled with Dynamos’ routine 2-0 win over How Mine at the National Sports Stadium, saw the Glamour Boys emerging as the champions, for the fourth straight year.

Sunday Mail Acting Sports Editor, Makomborero Mutimukulu, who backed the decision to crown Dauda as the Soccer Star of the Year, and the decision to honour Saul Chaminuka as the Coach of the Year, questioned the decision to give the top three awards to the ZPC Kariba players.

“Soccer Star of The Year Scandal . .. . (am) ashamed to have been part of the charade. I didn’t vote, was an observer, but I feel like an apology is in order. Sorry mwene hakuna bhora rakadaro,” he thundered on Facebook.

“ZPC top three yese? How?”

Daily News Sports Editor, Enock Muchinjo, weighed into the debate.

“The trend in recent times, it seems, has been to vote for players from teams that would have won the title. And ZPC looked certain champions at the time of the voting. Case of us hacks failing to separate individual player awards from the teams they play for,” said Muchinjo.

The Herald Senior Sports Editor, Robson Sharuko, added his voice.

“ZPC Kariba deserved rewards for their season but, to scoop everything, having the best three players and coach looks suspicious, especially in a season where they ultimately won nothing,” he said on Facebook.

“If the coach had the best three players of the year, does he also become the best coach when he didn’t win anything?”

Former Shooting Stars chairman, Lewis Matindife, was damning in his criticism, calling the outcome, “bulls***t”, in a gly-worded response.

Wilfred Chipere said this could only happen in this country.

“It is only in Zimbabwe were the champions walk away empty-handed,” he argued. “The team that won the championship looks like they don’t have a good coach, neither do they have good players to be part of top three.

“So how did they become champions?” Ignatius Nyoni agreed.

“How can a team which failed to win even a single Cup in a season have a clean sweep on the end-of-season top awards? Even that red-hot CAPS Utd of ’96 and that marauding Dynamos of ’97 failed to achieve such a feat.”

Trmore Kusekwa said this was typical of Zimbabwe football.

“Zim football is a joke sometimes, that’s rewarding failure at its best. If had resources I’d honour Pasuwa myself, 4 titles in a row (at) a big institution where there is unbearable pressure, spanking his biggest rivals inside out, then you say he isn’t good enough.”

Leonard Mwatenga said this was another dark day in Zimbabwe football.

“This will surely go down as the darkest night of Zim football, pathetic to say the least, a team with no silverware gets the three best players of the season and Coach of the Year , this is a gross miscarriage of football justice.”

Others, though, had different views.

Benjamen Chimusoro Ncube said it was important to consider that ZPC Kariba had played all their games away from home.

“Guys, don’t forget that they played all 30 games away and they really performed well. Imagine if they had a home ground what could have happened? First team in the world to be runners-up in the league while playing all away games. Food for thought.”

Source : The Herald