The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
SOCCER Star of the Year, Joel “Josta” Ngodzo was certain that he had bagged the top accolade in the country because of the goals he scored this season together with the assists he has provided.
The 30-year-old Caps United midfielder took the top gong ahead of Triangle captain Ralph Kawondera and Highlanders striker Prince Dube. He has scored 10 goals this season and chipped in with a number of assists for Makepekepe who are in the race for the championship with two games remaining.
“I am so happy because this is my first time to be the Soccer Star, I was 95 percent sure I was winning it because as a midfielder with 10 goals as an attacking midfielder, looking at my assists there are many of them, that’s why I was so sure,’’ Ngodzo said.
Ngodzo finally took home the most coveted trophy on the domestic football scene having come close in his very first season with Highlanders. On what has really changed in his game for him to get the top prize he said; “It’s the first time for me to score so many goals, to have plenty assists.”
The midfield genius feels vindicated after being jettisoned at Highlanders in 2015 by then coach Bongani Mafu, which forced him to move to Caps United where he felt treasured.
“It seems Mafu didn’t like me, because when he got to Highlanders, he said I can’t play football and I am overweight but I went to Caps United like that, they appreciated me, gave me training, I didn’t spend more than a year without playing,” Ngodzo said.
Ngodzo has a chance to win his second championship with the Green Machine, having done so for the first time in 2016.
“We have to fight as a team, the season is not yet over. We have to win our remaining matches, fight as a team. Our chances of winning the championship are there, all we have to do is win our remaining matches,’’ he said.
Highlanders striker, Dube said he is not interested in a move to South Africa with his sights being a move to one of the big leagues in Europe. The 22-year-old made what has been viewed as a hasty move to SuperSport United in South Africa in July 2017. It was not such a wise transfer for Dube, who failed to break into the Matsantsantsa first team and came back to Highlanders at the end of last year.
Dube, having made a slow start, has come alive the second half of the season. The striker’s goals have been the driving force Highlanders who are now fighting to finish in the league’s top four. He also scored in all of Bosso’s four Chibuku Super Cup matches, including in the 1-0 triumph over Ngezi Platinum in last Saturday’s final.
The marriage between the Premier Soccer as well as their sponsors, Delta Beverages looks certain to be prolonged with details of the new sponsorship deal to emerge in the coming days. Delta Beverages general manager lager beer business, Munyaradzi Nyandoro announced at the Soccer Stars Awards Ceremony that the new deal has been agreed upon with both parties to bring up to date the whole country with details of the latest arrangement to be known in the not so distant future.
“The new sponsorship deal between the PSL and Delta Beverages has largely been agreed upon, some fantastic news, both parties will inform the nation on the date of the signing of the new deal,’’ Nyandoro said.
PSL and Delta Beverages have been in talks over the sponsorship renewal since the current contract expires at the end of this year. Delta Beverages, using the Castle Lager brand have been the sponsors of the country’s elite domestic football league continuously since 2011 having also bankrolled the PSL in the 1990s up to 2004.
Clubs will be hoping for an improved deal seeing how the costs of preparing and fulfilling matches have soared due to the harsh economic environment prevailing in the country. PSL chairman Farai Jere in his address beseeched owners of stadiums to make sure that they give importance to upgrading of playing facilities.
Jere’s appeal comes after the Confederation of African Football condemned the National Sports Stadium and Mandava Stadium for failure to meet the least prerequisites to host international matches. Caf also confirmed that only Barbourfields Stadium is conditionally approved to host matches under the auspices of the continental body.