Bwalya To Grace Soccer Star Awards

SWAZ treasurer Phillmon Mhlanga said Bwalya had agreed to attend the ceremony as guest of honour.

Bwalya had a chequered club career that took him from Mufulila Wanderers in Zambia to Circle de Brugges in Belgium, PSV Eindhoven of Holland and Club America in Mexico. He helped Zambia win the final of the 1994 African Cup of Nations before Chipolopolo lost narrowly 2-1 to Nigeria.

Mhlanga said his presence at the awards would help to inspire young Zimbabwean footballers.

The Zimbabwean soccer star of the year award failed to take place in December as per tradition due to lack of funding.

In the past, the award was financially supported by the sponsors of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) championship. However, the PSL did not have a sponsor in 2010.

Mhlanga said a fund raising match between the soccer star of the year finalists and an eastern region select has been arranged and will be held in Mutare on January 22. Proceeds from this match will be used to contribute to the costs of the gala.

The 11 soccer stars of the year finalists who were selected in December are Norman Maroto, Alan Gahadzikwa, Beki Ncube, Charles Sibanda, Joel Ngodzo, Benjamin Marare, Fortune Ncube, Desmond Maringwa, Nyasha Mukumbi, Menard Mupera, and Edmore Sibanda.

The selection has however been heavily criticised by the public who feel the soccer writers voted for their favourite players instead of the real soccer stars of the year.

A rival soccer star of the year award sponsored by Impala Holdings has been introduced. Washington Arubi who was disqualified from the SWAZ award was voted the inaugural winner. This particular soccer star is selected by soccer fans from all over the country.