The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
WHEN Rodwell Chinyengetere suffered a horrific leg injury in September 2012, many must have thought that his football career was over.
The then Hwange captain injured his leg in a collision with Monomotapa goalkeeper, Artwell Mukandi in a league encounter at Rufaro Stadium.
Chinyengetere had an operation which saw a pin inserted on his leg which he played with until it was removed in 2016 when he was now at FC Platinum.
Fast forward to 2018, Chinyengetere has just made history, becoming the first player to win the Soccer Star of the Year award for two years in a row since the Premier Soccer League came into being in 1993. Chinyengetere was last Friday crowned the best footballer in the land, seeing off the challenge of Lameck Nhamo of Triangle and FC Platinum teammate Kevin Moyo.
The 30-year-old was the driving force in FC Platinum successfully defending their title. His 17 goals saw him walk away with the Golden Boot Award and those charged with the duty of selecting the Soccer Stars deemed that he was the best player on display on the domestic scene.
Chinyengetere has now joined the legendary George Shaya of Dynamos and Peter Ndlovu of Highlanders as the only players to have won the Soccer of the Year gong for two seasons in a row. Shaya won the award from 1975 up to 1977 having landed it in 1969 and 1972. Ndlovu shared the accolade with George Nechironga of Capus United in 1990 before he won it on his own the following year.
“It’s a great achievement, I feel happy, I am honoured to have this. It was all about those who were choosing, myself I had to do the work of which I did. It’s a great achievement, I think it’s the work of the Almighty,’’ Chinyengetere said.
He walked away with $7 000 from the awards ceremony, $5 000 for being the Soccer Star and $2 000 for being the Golden Boot winner. While in 2017, it was a close call between Chinyengetere and Moyo, this year the former was just outstanding with no doubts whatsoever that he will be crowned the best in the PSL come last Friday.
Chinyengetere recently signed up with South African premiership side Baroka and will join his new team in January. He described it as a new challenge for him and hopes the two Zimbabweans already at Baroka, Talent Chawapiwa as well as Elvis Chipezeze will help him settle in.
With his contract at FC Platinum expiring at the end of December, the Zimbabwean champions will certainly look to get the best out of him when they take on AS Otôho of Congo-Brazzaville over two legs in the Caf Champions League.
“It’s a new challenge, there is a little bit of pressure but I hope I will acclimatise, the other guys who are there Talent (Chawapiwa) and Elvis (Chipezeze) will assist. I am not yet sure (when I am leaving), I am still with FC Platinum,’’ he said.
There is no doubt that Chinyengetere’s recovery from that horrendous injury to go on and win the Soccer Star of the Year in two consecutive seasons can inspire a lot of local players.