Jomo Cosmos and Zimbabwe Undfer23 star Matthew Rusike has been voted Ezenkosi’s Player of the Year by the club’s fans for season 2011-2012. At the close of voting on Wednesday, 30th May, Rusike edged 12 other contenders to win the poll with 33.25 percent of votes cast on the club’s website.
Rusike, who only broke into Cosmos’ first team squad after seven games into the season, joined Ezenkosi in January last year from Zimbabwe’s Monomotapa FC after a short stint with Pretoria side Tuks FC. His played his first official game for Cosmos this season away to Ajax Cape Town where he formed a lethal attacking partnership with Siyabonga Nontshinga. Injuries would later stall his progress towards the end of the first round, but he bounced back at the start of the second stanza to win the MVP Award against Kaizer Chiefs in a 1-1 stalemate in Port Elizabeth in February.
He went on to open his goals account against Free State Stars before rifling home the equalizer against Black Leopards in a nail-biting relegation dogfight in Daveyton. Cosmos captain and first choice goalkeeper Avril Phali came a distant second to Rusike despite winning three MVP Awards during the PSL campaign, scoring a total of 18.61 of the votes, while midfield sensation and PSL rookie Siyabonga Nhlapo was third on 10.92 percent. On a personal level, Nhlapo enjoyed a rewarding season, missing just one league game and scoring five goals to emerge top scorer for Ezenkosi in 2011-2012.
Another Premier League debutant, Tshidiso “Dona” Tukane, placed fourth in the poll with 7.69 percent of the votes having scored four goals in all competitions including a sizzling opener away to Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Match Day One. Veteran midfielder Katleho Loke managed to secure joint fifth place with Ghanaian centre back Ofosu Appiah despite having his input marred by frequent injuries including those sustained in a car accident last December. The major season highlight for the former Thanda Royal Zulu star was winning the MVP prize in a Telkom Knockout game against Bloemfontein Celtic last October, and scoring a text-book free kick at home to Ajax Cape Town in April.
Versatile midfielder Gladwin Shitolo found no space in the top five, but his 4.22 per cent score is a fair reflection of Vieira’s late surge after having his season truncated by intermittent injuries. It was a similar story for midfield anchor Bamuza Sono who ended the season in relatively quiet fashion. Bamuza is perhaps one of the shadowy figures in the Ezenkosi set up but his high work rate and penchant to roll out defence-splitting passes is one reason why he cannot be overlooked.
This season could also pass as the most memorable for him in terms of personal achievement after he broke Andrew Rabutla’s record of 229 appearances to become another Cosmos legend.
The full list of contestants and their score:
1. Matthew Rusike 33.25%
2. AvrilPhali 18.61%
3. SiyabongaNhlapo 10.92%
4. TshidisoTukane 7.69%
5. KatlehoLoke 4.47%
5. OfosuAppiah 4.47%
6. Gladwin Shitolo 4.22% 7. BamuzaSono 3.47%
7. SiyabongaNontshinga 3.47%
8. Mark Haskins 2.98% 9.
El-HadjiSamb 2.73% 10.OusmaneBerthe 2.48%
11. Alton Meiring 1.24