HERENTALS College Football Club coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva believes William Manondo deserves to win the Soccer Star of the Year accolade, which is given to the best local football player, after his brilliant season for Caps United.
The former Harare City forward had the best season of his career, scoring 17 goals to go with 12 assists in the league to help the Green Machine survive relegation.
Caps United eventually finished 11th.
He was good enough to pip Walter Musona to the Golden Boot award despite Caps United suffering financial difficulties throughout the season, which saw the squad threatening not to fulfill matches on several occasions.
Manondo, who scored exactly half of Caps' total league goals, 34, missed his team's first two matches.
It's no surprise that Mutiwekuziva, regarded as one of the best coaching brains on the local scene, believes the forward deserves to win the award.
The 48th Soccer Star of the Year award will be presented to the winner during a banquet in Harare next Friday, after the eleven finalists were announced last week.
"A player who performed with consistency throughout the season deserves it. I think the Caps United forward did just that so I tip William Manondo to win it," Mutiwekuziva told NewsDay yesterday.
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Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe also acknowledges that his star player had an outstanding season to "deserve a special mention."
"The most difficult thing in football is to score a goal. It's easy to defend, to assist or to just play football but it's not so easy to score. For him to score 17 goals in this season when the team was struggling, one can only imagine if the team was doing well. I think he deserves a special mention," Chitembwe said.
"I also want to give credit to the team, they made it easy for him. Widzo was a perfect professional in his conduct in training and in matches. Off field I never had a problem with William, even on the pitch because he was just focused. He is someone who really knew what he wanted this season and I'm happy he managed to achieve what he always wanted to achieve, being the top goal scorer in this country."
Manondo will be up against Walter Musona, whose 14 goals and six assists propelled FC Platinum to their fourth straight league title.
The 26-year old had a slow start to the season but once he got in his groove, he proved an inspirational figure as the Zvishavane side overhauled an 11-point deficit to eventually win the title at a canter.
Of his 14 goals, half of them were decisive in winning his side matches.
The winner will succeed Joel "Josta' Ngodzo who won the award in 2019 when it was last held.
At the same banquet, the Soccer Star of the Year first and second runners-ups as well as the coach, goalkeeper, young player and referee of the Year awards will also be named.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza is the frontrunner for the coach of the year award while his goalkeeper Wallace Magalane is favourite to land the goalkeeper of the Year accolade although he is facing a challenge from Ngezi Platinum's Nelson Chadya and Taimon Mvula of Dynamos.
Whawha striker Jayden Barake had a good season for the relegated side and it would not be a surprise to see him scoop the Most Promising (Under-19) player of the season.
The award finalists were voted for by a panel of 50 journalists, 18 premier league coaches and their club captains.
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