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Player of season debate divides opinion

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By Isaac Salima:

TNM Super League coaches have mixed views on who they believe deserves Malawi’s 2018 Player of the Year award.

The Daily Times asked coaches of almost all Super League teams to give the name of a player who had a fantastic season.

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Of the 14 coaches and one technical director contacted, five settled for Be Forward Wanderers’ recent export Yamikani Chester, two went for Wanderers’ goal custodian Nenani Juwaya while the rest put their votes on different names.

In the poll, Silver Strikers’ Lovemore Fazili, Mzuni assistant Coach Etson Kadenge, Civil Sporting Club’s Franco Ndawa, Lloyd Nkhwazi of Dwangwa United and Red Lions mentor Nelson Chirwa all agreed that Chester, who has just clinched a three-year deal with Czech Republic club MFK, was consistent throughout the season and is fit for the accolade.

Kamuzu Barracks Coach, Temwa Msuku, put his money on Nyasa Big Bullets defender John Lanjesi while Masters Security’s Abbas Makawa went for his forward Babatunde Adeboye.

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Moyale FC mentor Charles Kamanga believes Wanderers’ goal poacher Zicco Mkanda, who scored 21 goals in the just ended season in all competitions, is the right man for the award.

TN Stars coach Meke Mwase went for Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve’s Hassan Kajoke while Karonga United’s former coach Christopher Nyambose had his vote on TN’s Stain Davie.

Bullets assistant Coach Heston Munthali had two options in Juwaya and top goal scorer Chiukepo Msowoya while Blue Eagle’s assistant trainer Christopher Sibale went for his own player Wonder Jelemani.

Relegated Mafco Coach Tione Mhone picked Bullets’ Mike Mkwate, saying he was outstanding both for club and country while Nchalo caretaker Coach Macdonald Yobe went for Bullets’ new catch Precious Sambani.

Wanderers’ Technical Director, Yasin Osman, said his custodian Juwaya did well both at club and national team levels.

Tigers FC Coach Chancy Nsema and his Technical Director Robin Alufandika were not available to give their views on the matter.

National Football Coaches Association General Secretary, Davie Mpima, believes Chester and Mkanda are the right candidates for the award.

“Among the two, I would go for Mkanda because he has individually won matches for Wanderers. Chester has been good for Wanderers in terms of creating scoring chances, dribbling and the like but Zicco [Mkanda] is someone whose presence you can rarely notice in the game but has been doing the job for his team,” Mpima said.

Basing on majority rule, the poll favours Chester as 2018’s Player of the Season. Chester was in top form for Wanderers and helped the team to reach the finals of the Carlsberg Cup where they lost to Masters Security.

Chester was also instrumental in the TNM Super League, as well as in the Fisd Challenge Cup which the Lali Lubani side won after beating Silver Strikers 3-2.

However, the former Tigers attacking midfielder failed to help his team retain the league title which went to bitter rivals Bullets.

The league’s awards ceremony is expected to take place later this month.

Wanderers’ seasoned midfielder Joseph Kamwendo was named Player of the Year for the 2017 season.

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