TOUGH

Timothy Molobi found draw­ing up a short­list for goal­keeper of the sea­son as dif­fi­cult as find­ing the miss­ing lions from the Kruger Na­tional Park Go

CityPress - - Sport -

Pro­tect­ing the net at all costs, goal­keep­ers are the back­bone of a team. They play in what is ar­guably the most im­por­tant po­si­tion on the pitch, and yet they are of­ten the most un­ap­pre­ci­ated.

This sea­son has been a tough one for the last line of de­fence, and no one re­ally shone above the rest.

Pick­ing just one de­serv­ing goal­keeper of the sea­son was as dif­fi­cult as find­ing and cap­tur­ing the last of the five lions that re­cently es­caped from the Kruger Na­tional Park.

Cape Town City’s Shu-Aib Wal­ters should have been a shoo-in to walk away with the award – un­til he con­ceded four goals against Polok­wane City in the last game of the cam­paign. This, cou­pled with an­other four that he let in against Su­perS­port United two games prior, dented his chances of walk­ing way with the award.

The 35-year-old veteran goal­keeper was the main­stay of the Cit­i­zens, lead­ing from the back and keep­ing them in the hunt for the ti­tle un­til late in the con­test. He is part of the rea­son they fin­ished third on the log.

De­fend­ing best goal­keeper De­nis Onyango would have been in pole po­si­tion to grab the ti­tle, but will miss it by a whisker as he does not meet the requirements.

To be con­sid­ered for the award, one should have played at least 75% of the matches, which is 20 of the 30 league games.

Af­ter spend­ing most of his time on the side­lines, Onyango did not reach this tar­get, even af­ter he fea­tured in Sun­downs’ last game.

The Ugan­dan, who walked away with the CAF player of the sea­son (based in Africa) ac­co­lade, also col­lected the league player of the month award for April af­ter his ster­ling per­for­mances.

If it were not for the 31-year-old, Sun­downs would not have been able to claw their way back into ti­tle con­tention – a life­line they then went on to lose in the penul­ti­mate game. His come­back af­ter a knee in­jury co­in­cided with the Brazil­ians win­ning matches where he kept five clean sheets in as many en­coun­ters.

In the 18 games he has fea­tured in this sea­son, Onyango kept 10 clean sheets and let in 12 goals.

An­other keeper who will miss out is Moe­neeb Josephs, who has played only eight matches.

The 37-year-old paid the price for hav­ing re­ceived a red card against Cape Town City ear­lier in the sea­son.

But he came back strongly to re­claim his po­si­tion to­wards the end of the sea­son – when it mat­tered the most – and he pro­pelled Wits to­wards the sum­mit of the ta­ble. He duly walked away with the player of the month for May fol­low­ing his su­perb show­ing.

Dar­ren Keet proved to be a ca­pa­ble re­place­ment when he oc­cu­pied the hot seat. He used his

Most PSL goal­keep­ers who meet the qual­i­fy­ing cri­te­ria found them­selves on the wrong end of the ta­ble, their clubs were fight­ing for sur­vival

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