Soccer Star Of The Year Gives Up On Prize Money

Sibanda was crowned Zimbabwe’s soccer star of the year on January 27 and was promised by the award’s sponsors, the Zimbabwe Tourism, he would along, with the other finalists, receive his prize money upon the return of the Warriors from the African Nations Championships in Sudan in February.
But the player has revealed to Radio Vop that up to now he still has not yet received his prize money adding that there has not been any communication whatsoever as to when he would receive the promised $3 500, revealing that he is no longer convinced the money is there at all.
He said Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s Chief Executive Officer Karikoga Kaseke had pledged to dish out the prize monies to the players at the end of February in the resort town of Nyanga but up to now nothing has materialized.
He says he has on several occasions spoken to the organisers of the award, the Sports Writers Association of Zimbabwe but what he has only received have been promises only with nothing coming out of them.
Sibanda says even the trophy that he was presented with on January 27 was also taken away as it was just used to give the guest of honour Zambian football legend Kalusha Bwalya the impression that there was a prize when in actual fact there was nothing.
According to Sibanda the trophy is not even soccer award material as it is too big and fits to be for a bigger competition.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority had chipped in to sponsor the award in support of the Sports Writers Association who had failed to secure sponsorship following the withdrawal of the Premier Soccer League sponsorship by the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe in 2009.
As the sponsors of the league, the CBZ also sponsored the soccer star of the year award.
At the ceremony on January 27, Kaseke pledged that the ZTA would pay the soccer star $3 500 with the first runner up Joel Ngodzo getting $2 000 and the second runner up Benjamin Marere taking home $1 000. The other eight finalists were supposed to get $500 each.
Although Kaseke could not be reached for a comment, Sports Writers Association treasurer Philmon Mhlanga claims the delay in the prize money payouts have been caused by Kaseke’s continued absence from the country due to business commitments abroad.
Although he professed ignorance that Sibanda’s trophy was taken away by the sponsors, Mhlanga revealed that Kaseke  was back in the country saying the writers are meeting the ZTA boss in order to set up a date for the presentation of the prize money.
This is the first time since the award was introduced in 1969 that the soccer star of the year and the other finalists have gone this far without receiving their prize monies.