Brightest stars of the 2016/17 MultiChoice Diski Challenge season
Posted: 9 July 2017 Time: 14:27
Since its inception the MultiChoice Diski Challenge has seen many young talents come to prominence and last season even more stars emerged.
It was announced last week that three players were in the running for the MDC Player of the Tournament with Keletso Makgalwa, Motjeka Madisha and Mlondi Dlamini nominated for the award.
Makgalwa and Madisha of winning side Mamelodi Sundowns, and Dlamini of Maritzburg United will find out who has scooped the accolade on Monday night at the PSL Awards.
Along with the nominated trio, KickOff.com takes a look at the young players who left their mark during the 2016/17 MDC season.
Anyone who saw this prodigious talent banging in the goals at the 2015 edition of the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup knew that he had a bright future ahead of him.
Makgalwa really came into his own during the 2016/17 MDC season, finally able to escape the shadow Percy Tau and Khayelihle Shozi.
With his terrifying pace, an ability to get past players almost effortlessly and ever-improving finishing, the winger caught the eye in practically every match he played.
Sundowns managed a total of 30 goals en route to the title and the 20-year-old from Mokopane was directly involved in 20 of those (eight goals and 12 assists) which puts him head and shoulders above every player in the tournament in terms of goal contributions.
By now a household name, Madisha has been quietly biding his time in the Brazilians' reserves over the last few seasons.
A loan spell at Highlands Park, whilst they campaigned in the National First Division in 2015/16, was meant to propell the composed centre-half into the public eye in the same way Percy Tau's Witbank Spurs stint did for him.
However, that venture into the second tier for some top flight experience was marred by injury and he returned at the beginning of last season to lead Sundowns' MDC side.
Madisha spent the first half of the season paired with Rheece Evans and then formed a partnership with Harold Majadibodu once the former Maritzburg United defender departed for Ajax Cape Town.
Despite having to change things at the back Sundowns finished their campaign having conceded only 10 goals (although the records show 12 conceded after their 1-1 draw with Chippa was overturned and the Chilli Boys awarded a 3-0 win) with Madisha the most important cog in the well-oiled backline.
An injury crisis in the first team then afforded Madisha the chance to step up and he did so in some style, becoming a Man of the Match magnet as he introduced himself to the section of the South African public that had not already had the pleasure of witnessing his mature displays at MDC level.
Winner of the Player of the Tournament award at the 2015 Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, despite his Sukuma High School being thrashed 5-0 in the final by Makgalwa's Clapham, Dlamini is one of the most promising players to ever emerge from the MDC.
The catalyst in the Team of Choice's midfield, Dlamini managed five goals last season as Maritzburg had to content themselves with a fifth place finish.
Following the conclusion of the reserve league, Dlamini was identified as one of the young players that could step up to the first team and he was given a few minutes in a losing cause against SuperSport United in February.
The 20-year-old made his full debut in a win over Chippa United and in his next start against Cape Town City he proved he'd succesfully made the transition to bonafide top flight footballer, tormenting the Citizens' defence as Maritzburg derailed their title hopes.
The MDC's top scorer with 12 goals, Mabaso scored at a rate of more than a goal a game as he drove Bloemfontein Celtic's title bid.
In the end Siwelele fell short of their ambitions with second place scant consolation for a side that occupied top spot on the standings just weeks before the tournament's conclusion.
The burly forward could have had more goals but injury and ill-displine kept him sidelined for four games - meaning he plundered his dozen goals in only 11 outings.
Unfortunately for the 20-year-old his scoring form did not translate in the top flight as he failed to find the back of the net in the top flight, given seven starts by goal-shy Celtic.
The diminutive Kaizer Chiefs central midfielder has been a revelation for the Glamour Boys this season, producing some incredibly mature displays.
Still only 17-years-old, Ngcobo was given the captain's armband by coach Arthur Zwane and he rose to the occasion with performances that belied his age.
Rarely ever putting a foot wrong, his partnership with Wiseman Meyiwa in the heart of Chiefs' midfield was unquestionably among the most enjoyable to watch.
Ngcobo has been in the development structures at Naturena since the age of 13 and the baby-faced playmaker is already showing signs that he could go on to be the club's next superstar.
The hulking Highlands Park hitman managed double figures for the debutants last season as they surprised everyone with an impressive third place finish.
An intimidating figure, Thabotha used the platform to showcase his predatory skills as he finished second on the scoring charts to the MDC's all-time top scorer Mabaso.
His displays earned him a place in the Lions of the North first team towards the latter stages of their dismal Absa Premiership campaign.
With etablished stars leaving the Gauteng club following their relegation it could be the perfect opportunity for the 21-year old Thabotha to step up and continue to sharpen his skills in a competitive league.
Equipped with excellent set-piece abilities and a bullet shot, Yusuf Maart endeared himself to the Orlando Pirates faithful very quickly.
The Western Cape-born central midfielder brought some much needed solidity to a Buccaneers side that have not previously fared well in the tournament.
Arguably among the best direct free-kick takers in the MDC, Maart has a penchant for the spectacular with many of his goals coming from long range.
An impressive tally of seven goals come the end of the season saw Maart earmarked for a role in the first team and he made two cameo appearances for the Sea Robbers - one in the cup and one in the league.
A seemless transition from Bidvest Wits' reserve team to their Absa Premiership starting XI made Reeve Frosler one of the most talked about youngsters in South Africa last season.
It was Frosler's performances in the MDC that convinced Gavin Hunt to throw the 19-year-old in the deep end last season and he acquited himself quite brilliantly.
Composed and committed, the Frosler that looked such a complete product for the Clever Boys as they charged to the PSL title was moulded at MDC level and along with other names on this list is a testament to the ability of the country's young players to make the step-up.
Is your MultiChoice Diski Challenge Player of the Season on this list? Who is most deserving of the accolade?