Themba Zwane has won the inaugural men’s Footballer of the Year award from the South African Journalists’ Association (Safja) after a stunning 2019/20 Premiership campaign.
Zwane was instrumental in Mamelodi Sundowns’ treble triumph with 14 goals and 12 assists across all competitions last season.
The 31-year-old Bafana Bafana international secured 60% of the votes from 108 members of the SA Football Journalists and held off competition from the likes of former Highlands Park striker Peter Shalulile, Kaizer Chiefs duo Lebogang Manyama, Samir Nurkovic and his captain Hlompho Kekana to the Safja prize.
Sundowns clinched the Premiership title, Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup with Zwane playing an integral role in the club’s historic domestic treble last term.
The player affectionately known as ‘Mshishi’ walks away with a trophy, a photo collage of his 2019/20 season from SAFJA and has selected his former school, Shukumani Primary based in Tembisa to receive media training from the journalists’ association.
“To be honest it was a difficult season but with the team that we have we managed to be together, motivate each other and fought for one another,” Zwane told Safja in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
“We knew that we were going to play more games than the other teams but as a team, we are now used to it. We worked hard at training, obviously, we started [season] slowly but we managed to come back in time [to win the league].”
Zwane has been a consistent performer over the last six years, helping the Chloorkop side win several trophies including Premiership title, Nedbank Cup, Telkom Knockout well as the CAF Champions League and CAF Super Cup.
The Tembisa-born winger went on to say that the 2019/20 season was his best in a Sundowns shirt.
“I believe that this was my best season. I scored more goals, created more goals and was involved in most attacking play. I think that I am a better ‘Mshishi’ than I was last season.
“It feels good to see people recognise the good job that you are doing on the field of play. Thanks to everyone involved in this award, I am honoured to be named the winner of the first one,” concluded Zwane.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi