The Sunday Mail
REIGNING goalkeeper of the year Petros Mhari appeared to anoint his Chicken Inn counterpart Elvis Chipezeze as his successor with a Facebook post that was wrapped in humility.
“I am your brother, you did well this season,” Mhari, the FC Platinum goalie, wrote in Chipezeze’s Facebook timeline last week.
Chicken Inn’s title charge might have fallen short but their number one who wears jersey number 32 was impressive this term.
“I would have loved to win the league title and have two championship medals to add to the one I picked up in 2015 but on a personal level this was my best season in the premiership,” said the 27-year-old Chipezeze.
“Strikers are measured by the number of goals they score and for us goalkeepers it’s all about conceding the least or not conceding at all.
“But also it must be remembered that defending is a team effort so credit also goes to the guys who did business in front of me, they bailed me out a couple of times.”
Whether Chipezeze’s name will make the Soccer Stars of the Year list when it’s unveiled after the traditional ritual set for Harare on Tuesday is subject of excitable conjecture but Mhari is not speculating.
“Look the days of soccer players talking down on each other are long gone. We are not competitors but people who are in the same industry and we should complement each other on the good work done.
“Chipezeze has had a very good season and I felt the need to publicly commend him because before the season started, I challenged him to do better than I did last season and he responded well to that challenge,” said the FC Platinum goalie.
Mhari lost his starting XI jersey to Wallace Magalane at FC Platinum and will not have qualms with having Chipezeze taking over from him as the goalkeeper of the year.
“He deserves it without doubt,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chipezeze — who idolised Gift “Umbro” Muzadzi as he grew up but is “scared” to throw the ball against the post like his hero famously did — is itching for a bigger stage.
“I am happy at Chicken Inn and have grown at the club, winning the title with Joey Antipas and playing in the Caf Champions League but like any player I also yearn for tougher challenges,” he said.
“The need to get signed by a foreign club or any of these big teams in Zimbabwe has also been a motivating factor for me this season.
“Sometimes I feel like my efforts do not get the applause they deserve. Imagine if I had kept this massive number of clean sheets for a team bigger than Chicken Inn? We are going into the offseason now and will see what happens between now and the start of the 2018 campaign.”