#PSLAwards: Young Player of the Season
Posted: 25 May 2018 Time: 16:00
With the nominees for the annual PSL Awards now known, KickOff.com brings you a statistical breakdown of all the candidates in the build up to the prestigious event.
The curtain will officially close on the 2017/18 PSL season next Tuesday, when the league’s top performers will be recognised for their efforts across the campaign at the always-glamorous PSL Awards ceremony at the Sandton Convention Centre.
This week KickOff.com has been analysing the nominees in each major category, giving an overview of their season and the merits for their nomination.
Up next, we look at the contenders for the PSL Young Player of the Season award: Sibusiso Mabiliso, Teboho Mokoena and Siphesihle Ndlovu.
Mabiliso’s nomination for this coveted award becomes even more impressive when realising he only joined AmaZulu from the Platinum Stars MultiChoice Diski Challenge team halfway through the season.
Usuthu’s January acquisition slotted in like a glove at left-back, playing 17 matches over the second half of the season, starting each game and only being substituted off three times.
The 19-year-old, who last year won the Under-20 Cosafa Cup with South Africa, was a standout player in the KwaZulu-Natal club’s defense, making an average of 2.4 blocks and 11 clearances per game, registering a passing accuracy of 72% as he helped his side finish the season in the top eight, only to then be bundled out following Ajax Cape Town’s points deduction which lifted SuperSport United into the top half of the standings.
His hard work and tenacity down the left did not go unnoticed as he was selected for Stuart Baxter’s initial Bafana Bafana Cosafa Cup squad, yet did not make the final cut for next month’s competition.
One of the four most utilised players in the SuperSport United team this season, Mokoena flourished in just his second year with the first side, dishing out performances beyond his years in midfield despite the club’s disappointing campaign.
Only making the top eight by virtue of Ajax’s points deduction, SuperSport can look to Mokoena as a shining light amidst their forgetful season, with the youngster scoring two goals and providing two assists in the 25 league matches he played.
Boasting a passing accuracy of 83.7% and taking the second-most shots at goal of all his teammates, Mokoena also proved his worth in helping his side defend, winning an average of 1.6 tackles a game (second only behind Dean Furman) while making 1.9 blocks and 2.6 clearances per 90 minutes he played.
The rising Maritzburg United starlet enjoyed an impressive 2017/18 campaign, and was one of the Team of Choice’s key players in helping them achieve a club record fourth-place finish in the league.
Nominated for Midfielder and overall Footballer of the Season accolades as well, the 21-year-old has risen to prominence in just his second season with the first team, while also earning a call-up to Stuart Baxter’s Bafana Bafana Cosafa Cup squad.
Recording five goals and four assists in the 27 league matches he played, Ndlovu was the league’s most-fouled player, while his passing accuracy for the season sat at 82.1%, one of the highest in the team. At the other end of the pitch, Ndlovu averaged just over two blocks and two clearances per game, while winning 1.3 tackles per 90 minutes, the second-most in his team.
Who do you feel is most deserving of the 2017/18 PSL Young Player of the Season award?