Thrills and spills of an exciting season
Some of the biggest moments that defined the beautiful game
PLAYER of the season: Alje Schut of Mamelodi Sundowns.
The attackers lost their spark midway through the season, so a defender wins it.
Captain Schut showed leadership in a side who were under pressure to end a drought and his efforts spared loudmouth coach Pitso Mosimane’s blushes. The big Dutch centre back was the most consistent player this the season.
Gripe of the season: How the hell did Khethokwakhe Masuku slip past Pirates officials with his branded headphones on his way to the bench after being substituted at halftime in the Nedbank Cup game against Santos?
A close second must be then-Free State Stars coach Steve Komphela’s comment that referee Victor Gomes “wanted to take free kicks and throw them in the net” against Supersport United.
Miss of the season: Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates players in their attempted brawl during the derby at FNB Stadium on October 26. You would have thought Amakhosi midfielder Willard Katsande would be aggressive in a fight. It was lipstick and handbag stuff.
Quote of the season: “I’ve seen it written in the media that I should have intervened earlier. Believe me, if I were intervening and trying to keep things calm at training every session, then I would be living in Willard Katsande’s shorts.” – Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter on a bust-up between Bernard Parker and Lehlohonolo Majoro.
Game of the season: Telkom Knockout – Mpumalanga Black Aces 1 Orlando Pirates 3, Mbombela Stadium, October 8.
Aces gave an insight into things to come as Clive Barker’s men threatened to tear Roger de Sa’s Pirates apart in a first half where the Buccaneers were fortunate to come out at a goal apiece. Pirates showed their class in the second half to win 3-1 through late goals by Lennox Bacela and Oupa Manyisa.
Signing of the season: Gabadinho Mhango of Bloemfontein Celtic.
Had he arrived earlier, Celtic might have finished higher up the Premiership table than sixth and coach Ernst Middendorp might have gone a full season without swearing. But who are we kidding? The Malawian striker, who runs at defences from all angles and scores breathtaking goals, is a nominee for young player of the season.
Keep an eye on… Keagan Dolly of Ajax Cape Town. This young man has the silky skills and a technical and crossing ability reminiscent of Stanton Fredericks, Daine Klate or even Steven Pienaar. It’s easy to see Dolly (21) becoming an instant hit if he moves from the Mother City during the transfer window.
Some things we learnt…
First, that South African strikers and referees are hopeless. It was a season that was more miss than hit for the strikers, as Parker top-scored with 10 goals. And the referees made far too many mistakes.
We also learnt that Middendorp and Gomes, who handed out a record 11 penalties in four games, are unstable.
And, that you can buy a whole new team and win the Premiership, and our soccer stadiums will not be full. Coach of the season: Mosimane. Yes, the coach who bought a whole new team and won the championship. Others with complicated European names have tried before him and failed. He also wins this award because it was worth attending Downs games just to hear his epic quotes
Most controversial moment: Gomes’s five-penalty circus in Sundowns ’ 3-2 win over Ajax Cape Town at Loftus in February. Mr Ref went on to hand out a further six penalties in his next three games. We’ve never heard of a prolific referee, but Gomes bucks that trend.