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
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