ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka
HARD-TACKLING Zanaco defender Ziyo Tembo has been named footballer-of-the-year, following a stellar season with the 2016 Super Division champions.
The 31-year-old defender, credited for his hard-work and discipline, marshalled one of the most tight defences in recent years as the bankers only conceded one goal at home. Zanaco only allowed 16 goals in 2016 to emerge not only as champions, but the team with the best defence.
Tembo also formed one of Zanacoâ€™s most lethal attacks, especially from set-pieces where he scored seven goals, a better return than most strikers in the league.
The supple-looking, yet strong tackler and good organiser was crowned as Zambiaâ€™s best local footballer during a colourful MTN awards gala at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka.
Unlike most players whose careers would be over the hill at the turn of 30, Tembo has matured like wine – getting better with age.
He earned his first selection to the national team last month and made his debut against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the 2018 World Cup qualifier.
Red Arrowsâ€™ centre back Bronson Chama was the last defender to win the accolade in 2013.
The Chipolopolo defender beat competition from Nkana striker Walter Bwalya and Zesco United midfielder Misheck Chaila to receive a K25,000 cheque.
It was double for Zanaco as their coach Mumamba Numba also scooped the coach-of-the-year award in his first full season as coach at the club he played for at the peak of his illustrious career.
Just as Numba beat former Zesco trainer George Lwandamina to the title, he also beat him to the award. He also overcame Nkanaâ€™s Aggrey Chiyangi to the award to pocket K15,000.
Bwalya, who netted 24 times, won the Super Division golden boot award to walk away with K20,000.
Power Dynamosâ€™ striker Patson Daka has been crowned this seasonâ€™s young-player-of-the-year, ahead of Zesco defender Shemmy Mayembe and Zanaco midfielder Charles Zulu.
The 18-year-old has enjoyed a brilliant breakthrough campaign with Power, scoring 13 goals.
Daka was rewarded with K15,000.
Zescoâ€™s Kenya international David Owino Odhiambo received the FAZ presidentâ€™s award for his outstanding performance.
Meanwhile, Kabwe-based referee Wisdom Chewe was strangely named referee-of-the-year, ahead of renowned whistle-man Janny Sikazwe and Stanley Hachiwa of Mazabuka.
Sikazwe is generally seen as the best referee in Zambia and one of the finest in Africa. He even handled the World Club Championship final between Spanish giants Real Madrid and Kashima Antlers of Japan on Sunday.
The best assistant referee-of-the-year award was given to Kabwe Chansa.
Chansa fended off competition from last yearâ€™s winner Mercy Zulu and Bruno Tembo.
The best referee and assistant received K15,000 each.
Past footballers of the year:
Mukuka Mulenga 2012
Bronson Chama 2013
Ronald Kampamba 2014
Winston Kalengo 2015
ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka