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Soccer Dearth: Zimbabwean Players Absent from Caf Awards

Harare – The absence of a single Zimbabwean footballer nominated for the Confederation of Africa Football (Caf) awards could signal the dea...

Harare – The absence of a single Zimbabwean footballer nominated for the Confederation of Africa Football (Caf) awards could signal the dearth of local soccer, as political bickering becomes the focal point.

Football politics and corruption has taken emphasis, with the country failing to accomplish its mandate during the last international calendar, suffering a humiliating defeat during the last edition of Afcon, while their participation in the World Cup has been dealt a severe blow.

Derick Matsengarwodzi
Media sources disclose that an estimated $2 million from FIFA meant for administration, pitch development – women and grassroots support has been embezzled, while women’s soccer is in a dire status.

Save for the less glamorous COSAFA tournament which the country puts its entire energy, resources having won it a record five times, the country is slowly sinking into oblivion in the soccer fraternity.

The last edition of the awards featured Mamelodi Sundowns amulet, Khama Billiat, who eventually lost the award to counterpart, Dennis Onyango, albeit in debatable style.
Where is Khama Billiat?

Onyango polled 252 votes while Billiat had 228, Rainford Kalaba of TP Mazembe and Zambia, Hlompo Kekana and Keegan Dolly of South Africa had 206, 175 and 160, respectively.

Billiat, who is desperate to vacate the Pretoria outfit, has been omitted this year, while he featured on few occasions due to injury. His move to Europe remains a mystery, with only notable Zimbabweans plying their trade abroad are Marvelous Nekamba and Knowledge Musona, both plying their trade in Belgium.

Besides Peter Ndlovu and Benjani Mwaruwari, no other Zimbabwean player has played in the fancied English premiership, showing the lack of talent development in the country.

While no Zimbabwean player is nominated, neighbouring South Africa provided three players. Percy Tau and Onyango of Sundowns were both nominated, alongside SuperSport skipper Dean Furman.

Tau and Onyango will compete with an array of starts in both categories of an Africa Player of the Year and Player of the Year abased in Africa. The Sundowns duo will compete with stars from clubs in Europe, with the likes of Victor Moses of Chelsea, Mohamed Salah of Liverpool in contention for the award.

Zambian-based Fackson Kapumbu of Zesco, Geoffrey Serunkuma featuring for Ugandan outfit, KCCA and Sabelo Ndzinisa from Mbabane Swallows in Swaziland, outshined Zimbabwean players, who ply their trade in a more superior league.

The winner will be decided by votes from the Head Coaches/Technical Directors of the National Associations affiliated to CAF, members of the CAF Technical and Development Committee and a panel of Media Experts.

The awards gala will be held in Accra, Ghana on 4 January.

African Player of the Year
1. Ali Maaloul (Tunisia & Al Ahly)
2. Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso & Lyon)
3. Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo & Villareal)
4. Christian Atsu (Ghana & Newcastle)
5. Christian Bassogog (Cameroon & Henan Jianye)

African Player of the Year based in Africa
1. Achraf Bencharki (Morocco & Wydad Athletic Club)
2. Ahmed Fathi (Egypt & Al Ahly)
3. Alkhaly Bangoura (Guinea & Etoile du Sahel)
4. Ali Maaloul (Tunisia & Al Ahly)
5. Aristide Bance (Burkina Faso & Al Masry) - Additional Reporting from Online Sources 

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