The evening of Monday the 10th of July marked the conclusion of what was probably the most historic season in South African football history. The 2016/2017 Absa Premiership Awards took place at Sandton Convention Centre, where the who’s who of SA football converged to acknowledge their peers in this auspicious occasion. These are some of the things we “Obzeved” about the Awards.
NB: All calculations exclude the Absa-lutely Awesome Goal of the Season – as this is not reflecting of a trend of good performances but an incident of excellence.
Out of the 16 clubs in the PSL, 44% i.e. only 7 clubs received nominations. To crown off their maiden championship in 96 years of existence Bidvest Wits walked away with 33% of the nomination, the highest of the night. Then came Telkom Knockout Champions Cape Town City who received 24% of the nominations, then Super Cup champions Mamelodi Sundowns with 18%, Nedbank Cup champions SuperSport United had a tie at 9% with Lamontville Golden Arrows, while the Soweto giants came in at the tail end with Orlando Pirates at 2% and Kaiser Chiefs at 1%.
Maritzburg United did not get a nomination even though they finished in the Top 8 for the second time in the club’s history. PSL Award nominations eluded the KZN outfit back in 2015/2016 season which happens to be the last time they finished in the top half of the table. Polokwane City is the other club which finished in the Top 8, but suffered the same fate as the team of choice. Orlando Pirates who experienced their worst season in PSL history, is the only club which finished outside the Top 8 but managed to receive two nominations.
It is also interesting to note that this season only had three foreign players received nominations. These are Malawian International Gabadinho Mhango, Ugandan Captain and 2016 African Player of the year – based Africa Denis Onyango, and the only PSL based player who participated in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia Michael Boxall. This is one of the lowest representation of foreign players on the nomination list as compared to previous years.
Note to self: if the whole idea of going outside the country is to find a player who bring something we do not have in South Africa, then why are they not good enough to make the PSL nomination list? But anyway, that is none of my business.
The average age of the nominees is 26 years, but if you exclude the young player of the tournament nominees for Absa Premiership and Nedbank Cup, the average goes up to 28 years of age. The oldest players who made the nomination list being Shuaib Walters (36), Hlompo Kekana, Daine Klate and Dennis Onyango (32). While Bidvest Wits’ nineteen year old Phakamani Mahlambi was the youngest on the nomination list.
Note to self – if the top performers in the league are 28 years of age. Why is it that the biggest debate about players not selected for Bafana Bafana is around players who are in their early 20’s?
A goalkeeper of the year nomination list which excludes Itumeleng Khune looks almost as odd as a Young player of the year nomination without Ajax Cape Town players. But the 2016/2017 features both anomalies. In fact Golden Arrows took 50% of the age defined nominations, namely Nedbank Cup Young Player of the Tournament and Absa Premiership Young Player of the Season.
But taking a look at the results. A few things didn’t make sense to us.
Firstly if the Absa-lolutely awesome goal of the year award is about an appreciation of footballing excellence, then leaving the decision to a vote defeats the purpose. If the award was about football then Baroka goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke’s overhead equalizer against Orlando Pirates would have been a foregone conclusion. And this is why. If you consider the way Tshabalala placed the goal, the execution was excellent. But then if you take into account the space and time he had, then it tell a different story. Shabba had time and space to trap the ball, control to his stronger left foot, and then line it up for a shot; without a single SuperSport United player pressing him. His goal was not beautiful because of him. It was horrendous defending on the part of SupperSport United. Juxtapose that with Masuluke’s goal, which had everything going against him. There were three players at the near post, and two players pressing him. His back was to goal, and he absa-lutely had no time, but his overhead kick could have left Ronaldo blushing. And thats be fore you have to take into account that he is a goalkeeper. But alas, leaving the decision to a public vote has only produced a result which reflects Kaizer Chiefs and Siphiwe Tshabalala’s popularity rather than the ubiquitous appreciation (locally an internationally) for the excellence that was the goal scoring execution of Masuluke.
Secondly for the Coach of the season award to go to Gavin Hunt was simply diabolical. Because it basically contradicts what the football fraternity has lamented for many years in our country. That is for South African clubs to take claim their place on the international front.
On the one hand you have Gavin Hunt who guided Bidvest Wits’ to their first cup double in over two decades. On the other hand you have Pitso Mosimane who participated in six different tournaments over one season and still managed to compete and come as close as 3 points to wining the league. Who in would you say had a better season? Bear in mind that winning has never been a criteria at the PSL Awards. A good example would be Gavin Hunt himself winning coach of the season back in 2001-02 season after his mentorship of Black Leopards to their best season in club history (even though it was winless).
So how is it possible that Pitso Mosimane did not win Coach of the season?
Anyway, just a thought.
If you have missed the full list of winners see below:
The 2016/2017 PSL Award goes to:
All the night’s winners, in order of being announced:
MTN8 Last Man Standing: Daine Klate (Bidvest Wits) – R80 000
Telkom Knockout Player of the Tournament: Aubrey Ngoma (Cape Town City) – R200 000
Nedbank Cup Young Player of the Tournament: Nduduzo Sibiya (Golden Arrows) – R50 000
Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament: Abbubaker Mobara (Orlando Pirates) – R150 000
NFD Top goal scorer (winner): Sedwyn George (Royal Eagles – 20) – R50 000
MultiChoice Diski Challenge Top Goal Scorer: Tshegofatso Mabaso (Bloemfontein Celtic – 12)
MultiChoice Diski Challenge Player of the Tournament: Keletso Makgalwa (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R30 000
PSL Assistant Referee of the Season: Luvuyo Pupuma – R40 000
PSL Referee of the Season: Phelelani Ndaba – R50 000
Absa Premiership Goalkeeper of the Season: Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits) – R50 000
Absa Premiership Young Player of the Season: Phakamani Mahlambi (Bidvest Wits) – R50 000
Absa Premiership Coach of the Season: Gavin Hunt (Bidvest Wits) – R75 000
Absa Premiership Top goal scorer: Lebogang Manyama (Cape Town City – 13) – R25 000
Absa Premiership Defender of the Season: Thulani Hlatshwayo (Bidvest Wits) – R50 000
Absa Premiership Midfielder of the Season: Aubrey Ngoma (Cape Town City) – R50 000
Absa Premiership Goal of the Season: Siphiwe Tshabalala (Chiefs vs SuperSport United, 29 April 2017) – R50 000
Absa Premiership Player of the Season: Lebogang Manyama (Cape Town City) – R150 000
PSL Footballer of the Season: Lebogang Manyama (Cape Town City) – R250 000