Who tops the list?

Some may have found this sea­son dis­ap­point­ing, given Sun­downs’ easy march to glory. But Ti­mothy Molobi has en­joyed the run-up to this year’s award win­ners as he of­fers his pick of star con­tenders

CityPress - - Sport -

Whose names should be on the Premier Soc­cer League’s Foot­baller of the Sea­son short list on May 30? And who will suc­ceed Tefu Mashamaite, who took top hon­ours last year? It goes with­out say­ing that this award should re­flect play­ers’ per­for­mances over the en­tire sea­son.

Jomo Cos­mos boss Jomo Sono, one of the coun­try’s most dec­o­rated for­mer play­ers and now a hard-to-please coach, has al­ready in­di­cated that his vote would go to Sun­downs mid­fielder Khama Bil­liat.

“Bil­liat, for me, is the player of the year. He should take top hon­ours be­cause he has been bril­liant. When you see such a player with so much tal­ent work­ing hard for the team, it is amaz­ing. He works for the team, not for him­self, which ul­ti­mately makes him the win­ner.”

There is no doubt­ing Bil­liat’s ster­ling play in the league this sea­son. Big play­ers at clubs win sil­ver­ware, and the Zim­bab­wean looks set to dom­i­nate this sea­son’s awards.

How can any­one ig­nore his stun­ning runs, and the 10 goals he net­ted that helped the Brazil­ians win the cham­pi­onship? This, in ad­di­tion to his pace and skill, which have kept sup­port­ers on the edges of their seats.

It is dif­fi­cult to counter Sono’s songs of praise for the player: Bil­liat, who last week took the Absa Premier­ship player of the month crown, is fast, works hard, shows a ter­rific tim­ing in his runs, and can fin­ish – and miss, too.

The 25-year-old Downs star is poised to beat team­mate Hlom­pho Kekana to the ac­co­lade, but it must be said that he had many as­sists this sea­son.

Last month, Downs coach Pitso Mosi­mane re­vealed that no player had been fouled more than Bil­liat. The winger has be­witched a host of op­pos­ing de­fences dur­ing the sea­son with his abil­ity to pro­vide ei­ther a killer pass or a shot at goal.

As for Kekana, his poise when in pos­ses­sion of the ball, and some of his long-range pass­ing and shoot­ing have been phe­nom­e­nal. He has that eye for a pass in ad­di­tion to his free-kick abil­ity, and is one of those play­ers who can turn the game around with just one pass.

He de­serves to be on the short list be­cause he, too, was in­stru­men­tal in the Brazil­ians’ suc­cess­ful run this sea­son.

Wil­lard Kat­sande, who has had a fan­tas­tic sea­son even though Kaizer Chiefs have been ter­ri­ble, is their only player to come close to the peak per­for­mance he showed when they won the ti­tle last sea­son.

Amakhosi’s drop of form will not have helped Kat­sande’s chances. He was bril­liant but could not have made it on his own, given the fact that foot­ball is a team sport.

Mpumalanga Black Aces striker Collins Mbe­suma is set to walk away with the top scorer award – 10 years af­ter he first won it in the 2004/05 sea­son. Af­ter hit­ting top form early in the sea­son, the bulky Zam­bian marks­man could not main­tain his scor­ing prow­ess as he was al­ways the tar­get man. The out­come was that Aces ran out of steam in their chal­lenge for the league hon­ours. Goal­keep­ing is one po­si­tion that rarely gets recog­nised when it comes to top awards, but De­nis Onyango has been bril­liant for Downs, and should clinch the goal­keeper of the sea­son ti­tle. The Uganda Cranes goal­keeper has made stun­ning saves this sea­son to help the Brazil­ians win not only the league ti­tle but also the Telkom Knock­out tro­phy. As for Mosi­mane, he is tipped to garner the coach of the sea­son award, hav­ing led Sun­downs to glorious ti­tle vic­to­ries.

PHOTO: ANESH DEBIKY / GALLO IM­AGES

MR RELI­ABLE Den­nis Onyango should win the goal­keeper of the sea­son award

PHOTO: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IM­AGES

NUM­BER ONE Pitso Mosi­mane is poised to walk away with the coach of the sea­son award

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