Patson Daka’s nomination as Young Player of the Year for a second time defeats the significance of the award.
After winning the very same award in 2014, the adjudicators seemingly overlooked that fact and still nominated Daka for this years accolade.
Without a doubt Daka has impressed in the second part of this season but his exploits after Power Dynamos coach Danny Kabwe managed to get the best out of him in the last six months should have seen him graduate to the Player of the Year category.
The Young Player of the Year award is a unique accolade with one-off nominees meant to recognise upcoming talent and must always be treated as such.
The selectors got it right with Zesco United’s Shemmy Mayembe who got his big break in the 2016 CAF Champions League.
But the selectors again showed their limited depth of the league by choosing Charles Zulu of Zanaco who has been part of the football furniture for the last three years and was a Chipolopolo regular under ex-Zambia coach Honour Janza.
If we continue to use this benchmark to nominate players for this Young Player award, then it should be discontinued or renamed because it does nothing to recognise football development.
Meanwhile, it was a season of the goalkeepers as Zesco would attest to in their failure to successfully defend their league title this year.
Three young talents come to mind: Kabwe Warriors Lawrence Mulenga is one of those overlooked.
Others include Nkana’s duo of Kelvin Malunga and Frederick Mwansa who interchanged roles and held their own through the pressure in front of their home supporters in Kitwe.
And the deserving winners in the six categories will be named on Tuesday at the MTN/FAZ Awards gala at InterContinental Hotel in Lusaka.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ziyo Tembo (Zanaco)
Walter Bwalya (Nkana)
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Charles Zulu (Zanaco)
Patson Daka (Power Dynamos)
Shemmy Mayembe (Zesco)
MOST DISCIPLINED PLAYER
Jacob Banda (Zesco)
Aubrey Funga (Zanaco)
COACH OF THE YEAR
George Lwandamina (Zesco)
Mumamba Numba (Zanaco)
Aggrey Chiyangi (Nkana)
REFEREE OF THE YEAR
Wisdom Chewe, Jan Sikazwe, Stanley Hachiwa
Assistants: Kabwe Chansa, Bruno Tembo, Mercy Zulu