Who will be the Player of the Season?
It’s just a few games left before the Premier Soccer League curtain falls and the champions are crowned. It can now be anyone’s guess who will be the league champions but it is also vague who will be the Player of the Season.
I have been in trains, buses and taxis and listened to debates by the football-loving fans as they make their wild guesses who they think will emulate Thulani Serero and do a clean sweep at the PSL awards come the end of the season. Several names have popped up and you will be surprised how loyalty influences people’s choices.
This season has been a tight one for the relegation battle, championship contention and top scorers race. Katlego Mphela, who looked destined to land the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot, is slowly falling away from the heated race, which veteran striker Siyabonga Nomvete leads with distinction.
The big question is, who will be the 2011/12 Player of the Season?
David Mathebula (Moroka Swallows)
“DVD” has been in sterling form this season for Moroka Swallows, who are also among the championship contenders. The diminutive midfielder was deemed surplus to requirements at Kaizer Chiefs and he was loaned to Mpumalanga Black Aces and then signed for the Dube Birds.
His amazing resurgence has seen him become the only midfielder pushing hard for the Top Scorer Award with nine goals, which is just three goals shy of the current leading scorer’s tally.
Siyabonga Nomvethe (Moroka Swallows)
One would be forgiven for thinking “Bhele” is an 18-year-old while watching him taking on defenders as he charges towards goals. His blistering pace, skill and technique are the reasons why he is leading the top goal scorer title chase.
The former Bafana Bafana striker’s combination with Mathebula has grown into a nightmare for many PSL defenders. They unselfishly create chances for each other and their goal poaching instincts have turned Swallows into a feared team. Ironically they survived relegation by a whisker last season.
Edward Manqele (Free State Stars)
Manqele has been in good form for Ea Lla Koto and he is among the contenders for the Top Scorer Award. He has grown into a fearsome striker who received a call up for the national team match against Senegal.
One mistake by a defender near the goal area and Manqele will punish that team. In a team that has no high profile players, the striker has made sure he takes advantage for at least one chance that his team gets in the game.
Lucky Baloyi (Kaizer Chiefs)
He is an impressive midfielder who, no doubt, is the rookie of the season. He has been in good form, which has seen him relegate a seasoned campaigner, Tinashe Nengomasha, to benchwarmer. Baloyi is one player that grabbed his chance in the starting lineup with both hands and played with his heart on his sleeves as well as his manners right where they should be.
The lanky player, popularly known as Sherriff, has been living up to his nickname in the Chiefs midfield, arresting every movement that may be harmful to the defence. Despite his industrious nature on the pitch, he has also shown that he has a knack for goals, scoring some glorious long range efforts.
Teko Modise (Sundowns)
‘The General’ has been written off several times and many even suggested that he retires from football. Whatever coach Johan Neeskens told Modise should be shared with Fernando Torres, who many have labelled as “finished”.
The midfielder has grown into the driver of the Sundowns midfield and, above all, he has been scoring some crucial goals. Those trademark defence-splitting passes and crosses can be seen again from the boots of the skilful midfield maestro. It came as no surprise when Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane recalled Modise into the national team.
Hlompho Kekana (Sundowns)
Thandani Ntshumayelo (Orlando Pirates)
When Kekana left Bloemfontein Celtic to join Sundowns, many pundits touted the move as career suicide, especially considering there was the Nedbank Cup starlet Mathew Pattison and Musa Nyatama in top form. Kekana waited patiently for his turn and when he got it he made full use of it, which saw him rewarded with several Bafana call ups.
Kekana has been doing well to win the ball in midfield and combines well with playmaker Teko Modise. He will forever be remembered for his seven goals that he hammered in during the Nedbank Cup match against minnows Powerlines FC from Kimberly.
The national Under-23 midfield kingpin has been in blistering form this season, first at SuperSport United, who he drove to the top of the table in mid-season. After he moved to Pirates during the mid-season transfer period, United struggled to win matches, which proves how pivotal he was to their title dreams.
At Pirates he also hit the ground running, relegating Andile Jali to the bench and, above all, bagging a few man-of-the-match awards to prove that he is not a fluke signing. Ntshumayelo brought stability in the Bucs midfield and his vision in passing makes him one of the future.
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