The association’s treasurer Philemon Mhlanga claims that Swaz various companies have chipped in to help raise the money to honour footballers and officials who excelled in the just ended season.
The stars’ selection, which was conducted in Kwekwe last month, was mired in controversy as some of the sports writers walked out of the selection process after squabbles with their counterparts.
“We will have the banquet on January 28 in Harare at a venue yet to be determined, but we have since secured sponsorship for most of the categories,” said Mhlanga. “It has been difficult for us to get sponsorship for the prizes and the event but we are glad that finally we can announce a date because almost everything is in place.”
According to Mhlanga, the first runner-up will get US$800 while the second runner-up pockets US$600. The Goalkeeper of the Year will walk away with US$1 000 as will the Coach and Referee of the Year.
Gunners striker Norman Maroto is guaranteed at least US$1 500 on the night as he finished the season with the highest number of goals (22). He will get US$1 000 for his goalscoring exploits, while he is guaranteed another US$500 for being one of the final 11 best players.
Motor Action’s Charles Sibanda and Highlanders’ Joel Ngodzo are hotly tipped for the top accolade while Caps United goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda is also a possibility.
That Edmore Sibanda is the only goalie among the 11 finalists will not necessarily make him the Goalkeeper of the Year as a separate vote was made for the category. Hence if Sibanda is selected Goalkeeper of the Year he would be entitled to US$1 000 in addition to the US$500 he will receive for making it into the final 11.
Motor Action coach Joey Antipas looks set to win the Coach of the Year award after leading the Mighty Bulls to a remarkable championship winning season in which they led from start to finish.
Elvis Chiweshe, who has just quit Dynamos, will pose a challenge to Antipas after guiding DeMbare to the mini-league phase of the African Champions League and also pushing Motor Action all the way in the league race.
Dynamos also won the BancABC Sup8 tournament and the Independence Trophy.
In 2009 champions Gunners made a clean sweep of the top gongs when then coach Moses Chunga won the Coach of the Year award while Ramson Zhuwawo and Tafadzwa Dube won the Soccer Star of the Year and the Goalkeeper of the Year accolades respectively.
It will be the first time, however, that the banquet failed to take place in the same year the league was completed.