Rookies Lightening Up the 2017 Castle Lager PSL
Considering local Premier Soccer League clubs’ growing tendency of banking on old horses to do business for them, most pre-season permutations did not place any possible chances of there being revelations of new talent in Zimbabwe.
With the PSL season now in its 24th week, there is a lot of talk around the new and upcoming talent in Zimbabwe. There is no denying that the current season has been one of the most entertaining and competitive. From the steady rise of the two platinums, FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars, the resurgence of Bulawayo side Chicken Inn and Harare giants, Dynamos to the ups and downs of Highlanders, this season could be summed up as unique and refreshing.
Though some ‘old horses’ have lived up to their billing, the entertainment has come from the new boys on the field who despite the high stakes against them have managed to go about their business in the fast improving local premiership.
263Chat Sport takes a look at some of the exciting new boys who made an instant impact on the big stage.
Marlven Kwinjo (Ngezi Platinum Stars)
The 19 year old striker has managed to pay back the trust his gaffer, Tonderayi Ndiraya has shown and at Ngezi Platinum he has a steady ship which if properly nurtured could be a talk of the town.
Though he has played second fiddle to the experienced Terence Dzukamanja and Donald Teguru upfront, the Prince Edward graduate’s skills have not gone unnoticed. The emerging star was part of the Ngezi side that participated in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederations Cup earlier this year.
Blessing Sahondo (Chapungu)
It is easy for talent from outside Harare to be noticed and it seems Sahondo knew that when he started against Yadah Stars FC at the re-opening of Rufaro stadium in Harare.
The 24 year old shone like a beacon whenever he had the ball with intelligent runs on the Chapungu left and right wing leaving many to wonder how many of such boys Zimbabwe has.
Emmanuel Mandiranga (Dynamos)
Though the 21 year old Emmanuel Mandiranga is not new to premiership football, the 2017 season has given him a platform which no other team had given him before and the young man has taken the bull by the horns at Dynamos.
Dynamos is currently dominated by young players due to the club’s weak financial muscle. That they are at the summit of the Castle Lager premiership table, tells a lot in what these boys are doing.
He became a revelation at DeMbare at a time coach, Lloyd Mutasa was under fire for a string of poor results and also entrusting his faith in a bunch of unknowns but their 60 percent improvement from last season as quoted by The Herald Senior Sports Editor Robson Sharuko tells a lot about the team and of course its coach.
In Mutasa, Mandiranga has a coach who has unearthed some of Zimbabwe’s raw diamonds including Devon Chafa, Denver Mukamba and Obey Mwerahari among others. So the young lad is in good hands and if he remains focused, he can go on to become the most sought after Zimbabwean player in the a year or two to come.
Bukhosi Sibanda (Bantu Rovers)
Bukhosi Sibanda did not need a full season to convince teams in the lucrative ABSA premiership that he was rare talent. The diminutive 20 year old striker was snapped up by Ubuntu Cape Town as quickly as he had blasted his way onto our local scene.
His 10 premiership goals in less than 10 starts have only just been equaled by Christian Epoupa Ntouba of DeMbare.
Leroy Mavhunga (Yadah Stars FC)
He has already been capped twice, has been called for trials in Europe at Benfica and has managed to keep the Prophet Walter Magaya owned team in a respectable position.
In Roderick Mutuma and Dennis Dauda he has two leaders and premiership winning players who are able to develop and prepare him for a bright future.
Cleopas Kapupurika (Dynamos FC)
He has endeared himself with the Dynamos faithfuls which is no mean feat. His skill is out of this league and watching him in the Dynamos team leaves one imagining what Mutasa can achieve with his current crop of young stars both locally and internationally in the coming season if he does manage to hold onto them.
Tatenda Tumba (Harare City)
The former Copa Coca Cola winner found his way into the senior team this season and he has won the sunshine boys a lot of games coming from the bench as he has the capacity to change the mood of the game.
The young man was introduced to premiership football last year by Philani ‘Beefy’ Ncube. His best game this season was when he came from the bench against Caps united when they were 2-1 down and manage to assist one goal and forced another to end the match 2-3 in favor of Harare City.
Denzel Khumalo (Highlanders)
The emerging star had a slow start but improved as the season progressed. Most Bosso fans believe that he is the next Ronald Gidiza Sibanda because of his ball controlling skills and quality of passes he distributes.
His confidence with the ball has made him to stay on the heart of the Dutch Highlanders gaffer Erol Akbay and is proving his coach right.
It not easy also plays in the senior team at big clubs of Highlanders magnitude but Khumalo has adapted well and is beginning to show his worthy with fine displays. Highlanders could be having their worst season with a string of losses but Khumalo is one for their future as his performance reveals that it is not all doom for the Bulawayo giants.