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Date: 26 March 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Is there any place for objectivity in Zim football?

[Posted 13 Dec 2012]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Is there any place for objectivity in Zim football?

On Friday 13th December, Zimbabwe will know who the outstanding soccer personalities of the year are, when the Premier Soccer League will present the Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year awards hosted by league sponsors Delta Beverages in Harare.

But honestly speaking, are we, as a nation proud of the process leading to this crowning moment for youngsters in our league who gave their best for the past season, when we all know that there is a possibility that the best player, the best coach or even the best officiating official might not be the winner because of immature infighting among selectors on the basis of regionalism?

Only last year, the best coach probably did not win the award because a balancing act somehow had to be achieved.

A so called Northern region player, Washington Arubi walked away with the 2011 award (not sure if he was the best player on the land that year), and so coach of the year had to come from the Southern region.

Calisto Pasuwa who won the league and a cup, to achieve a rare double in recent years, had to settle for nothing as Tenant Chilumba walked away with the award in 2011, despite having won nothing really, except coming as close as fourth place in the league! Come on Zimbabwe! That sounds to me like a case of miscarriage of justice.

Now, in 2012, the same panel of selectors is back with controversial selections. This time though, it maybe too early to criticise them before the final product of their work is seen.

The selection of four Highlanders players on the team of 11 best players of the season has been said to raise eyebrows. I do not think though that there is something very amiss in having four players from Bosso on the soccer calendar. It is for the simple reason that for the better part of the season, Highlanders played more consistently, even they might not have played the best football (not even Dynamos played the best football in the PSL anyway). Inconsistent Monomotapa probably played the football that all Zimbabweans should be proud of.

What raises eyebrows could be the selection of questionable players from Chicken Inn Felix Chindungwe and Kudakwashe Mahachi. Other players from elsewhere in the league or even from the club itself certainly performed better than this duo.

Apparently Masimba Mambare was the best Highlanders player this season and apparently  he even deserves to win the Player of the Year award for 2012. Could it be gainsaid that this player performed better than players like Nelson Maziwisa, who managed 18 goals in the PSL from the modest Zvishavane-based Shabanie FC?

Anyone can identify exploits from a Bosso, DeMbare, or CAPS United player given the wide media coverage enjoyed by these clubs. However, it is a mark of diligence and brilliance on the part of journalists if they can be able to tell that a player from a small team has made a real contribution to football in a season. That is why the quality of the crop of current selectors should be doubted.

Is Mambare’s selection not based on the excitement that the sleepy Zimbabwe giants, Highlanders showed signs of finally waking-up from their deep slumber this season? What is the role of regional sentiments in influencing the decision of selectors?

What are the chances of players from smaller or lesser known teams like Shabanie, Buffaloes, Monomotapa getting the recognition they deserve, if it is not for regional considerations?

All these are questions which point towards something really wrong in our football. This problem unfortunately is not confined to journalists alone.

The worst culprits could be ZIFA board members who also behave like ’deployees’ of regions (read Northern and Southern regions) with a clear mandate to ONLY advance interests of these two regions, as if Zimbabwe is made up of Harare and Bulawayo or the Shona/Ndebele divide. That attitude is obviously passed onto journalists.

What happened to being objective in the world of Zimbabwean soccer? Are we so much of damaged-goods that we have completely lost our sense of fairness, justice and objectivity as a football people? I DON’T THINK WE ARE ALL THAT BAD!

Zimbabwe is full of capable people, individuals who are capable of making decisions in the interests of our people as a collective, not in the bigoted interests of groupings. There is little doubt that people like Peter Ndlovu are not affected by these challenges. While Peter is not a saint or angel, he certainly is just one of many loyal sons of Zimbabwe whose thinking transcends regional boundaries and sentiments.

Cuthbert Dube has tremendous potential of being above-party in this regard, but his leadership credentials have been affected by the endemic problems associated with, and squabbles within the Zifa board that he leads.

Dube has not helped his image by being inconsistent in his public utterances, and others feel that he owes his place in football thanks to his pocket more than his football brains. That sounds an unfair assessment of the man who has given almost his all for Zimbabwean football in the past few years.

Can Dube, with all his passion and financial muscle and influence  help us get back on the right track? Well, he needs to demonstrate his ability to lead the board first, before he can be trusted with helping heal the cancer which is eating into Zimbabwean football, a cancer called regionalism.

At the moment, things do not look glorious on the front of objectivity in Zimbabwean football, but as long as we have individuals with potential, there is hope. This problem is a legacy of the history of the country, the historical bad blood between the Southern and Northern parts of the country.

One would have expected that such differences should by now have been buried and that the charm and power of football would help people bridge historical rifts between them.

So, do not be surprised if once again, for the second year running, our journalists and other selectors connive to deny Zimbabweans of the chance to see the best soccer player in 2012  and the best coach this past season being rewarded.

Objectively looking at performances of players this year, there should be very little doubt that Denver Mukamba has been the most outstanding footballer in the Castle Lager PSL, and deserves to walk away with the Player of the Season award.

BUT Mukamba should not be given the award simply because he is from a popular club in the capital, Dynamos. He should win it on merit. If Chitiyo or Maziwisa had outperformed him this season, they should land the ward and should not be affected by the teams they play for or the town they come from.

For winning the league and cup (for the second consecutive year), should be evidence enough to show that Calisto Pasuwa was the best coach. No regional sentiments must creep in to give the award to Kelvin Kaindu.

The Zambian did very well with Bosso this year, reviving true rivalries in Zimbabwean football in a season that FC Platinum and CAPS United disappointed once again. However, Kaindu has absolutely nothing to show for having led Bosso to only one defeat in the league. It has to be accepted that the league is not a sprint, it is a marathon, the one who emerges top at the end of the race, is the true champion. So, Pasuwa is the man.

If Kaindu deserves to be coach of the year ahead of Pasuwa for efforts alone without results, then Adam Ndlovu should deserve the ward ahead of him for guiding modest Chicken Inn to a third finish. That was remarkable. 


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