It has been yet another tough season in the SA’s Premier Soccer League (PSL).
FARPost Editor Tiyani wa ka Mabasa has been keeping a close eye on the best players during this season and with the League having been halted owing to the outbreak of the Coronavirus that has badly hit the world, he picks the top 15 players from the season so far.
15. Fortune Makaringe (Orlando Pirates)
The midfielder remains key for the Buccaneers. Whenever he’s around, there’s a bit of life in Pirates’s heart of midfield. He’s played 23 matches across all competitions and appears settled since joining from Maritzburg United at the start of the season.
14. Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs)
The Nigerian international has silenced his critics with some fine performances for Amakhosi. While many were calling for Itumeleng Khune to return to the number 1 position following his recovery from injury, it didn’t help Akpeyi that he was making some mistakes, but soon bounced back and Khune has been supportive from the sidelines.
13. Bonginkosi Ntuli (AmaZulu)
AmaZulu have scored 14 goals in the League and 12 have come from Ntuli. At some stage, he was the only one who had scored goals for ‘Usuthu’, which means he’s carried the team on his shoulders.
12. Peter Shalulile (Highlands Park)
The Namibian has caused problems for the defenders of the respective teams. He has 12 goals in 24 matches and that represents a 50% scoring ratio, but perhaps what most people don’t notice about his game is his work rate, which is quite impressive.
11. Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Madisha has improved a lot this season. He was at some stage out of the picture, but fought back to win a place in the starting XI, which is commendable considering the tough competition at Sundowns.
10. Samir Nurkovic (Kaizer Chiefs)
In only his first season, the Serbian has worked his socks off for Chiefs. “I felt that (Leonardo) Castro and (Khama) Billiat were a little isolated last season but Nurkovic has given them the space to play because he needs a lot of attention inside the box. We had to check his style of play and compare it to what we had‚ and what we were looking for,” said Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp earlier in the season. Nurkovic boasts 12 goals and 3 assists in 24 matches.
9. Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United)
He’d be pleased with his 12 goals in 21 appearances, especially considering his past battles with injuries. If he scores two more goals, it’d be his best season ever in the PSL.
8. Keagan Buchanan (Maritzburg United)
He’s called it his best season to date and the Maritzburg midfielder is right. Last season he played just 3 games and this season? 21. With his injury worries behind him, the 27-year-old has been enjoying his game.
7. Eric Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs)
‘Tower’ has played his heart out this season. For a player who played just 5 matches last season, it must have been pleasing for the Amakhosi supporters to see him back. A man who takes responsibility, Mathoho has 4 goals in 20 Absa Premiership games.
6. Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United)
Of the goalkeepers, Williams boasts more clean sheets; 14 in 31 games. The Port Elizabeth-born keeper is one of the most consistent players in the League.
5. Rushine De Reuck (Maritzburg United)
He’s one of the reasons the ‘Team of Choice’ lie in 5th spot in the Absa Premiership. Some have called for him to be included in the Bafana Bafana squad and rightly so, because he’s been outstanding to say the least.
4. Andile Jali (Mamelodi Sundowns)
The midfielder has been in top form, much to the delight of his coach, Pitso Mosimane. “I don’t want to get praise for his change of fortunes. Mine was to monitor him, advise him and to make him aware that it is the Sundowns brand that he represents,” said Mosimane recently. Jali has played 20 games in the domestic League, delivering performances worthy of being Man of the Match on a regular basis. He even got a recall to the Bafana Bafana team that was due to play Sao Tome e Principe in back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers this month, but the matches were postponed due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
3. Gabadinho Mhango (Orlando Pirates)
The PSL’s top marksman with 14 Absa Premiership goals, from just 21 matches, has been in fine form. The Malawian has proven to be unstoppable more often than not and when the season resumes, he’d probably get more goals to help the Buccaneers finish in a respectable position.
2. Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns)
‘Mshishi’ has been quietly going about his business for the ‘Brazilians’. He has 9 goals in just 16 Absa Premiership matches, as well as 5 assists. Even in Africa, he was good again for Sundowns’s cause, but for this specific article we are focusing on domestic competitions and Zwane has without a doubt lived up to expectations.
1. Lebogang Manyama (Kaizer Chiefs)
On the back of a difficult last season that was disrupted by injuries and resulted in him playing a mere 16 games across all competitions, the 2016/17 PSL Footballer of the Season has returned to his best. Manyama has 7 goals and 9 assists from 26 appearances this season.
By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa