2017: A breakthrough year for …

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1. Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Madisha finally got a chance to prove himself in the Sundowns starting line-up and he did not disappoint. A man of the match performance in the Nedbank Cup last 32 against Marivheni United, and injuries to the likes of Wayne Arendse and Thabo Nthethe, was key to him getting a regular spot in the team. He won a few other man of the match awards towards the end of last season and has shown a lot of maturity for someone his age. Now coach Pitso Mosimane finds it difficult to leave him out of his line-up.

2. Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport United)

The midfielder spent the second half of 2016 on the bench under former Matsatsantsa coach Stuart Baxter. At the start of 2017, however, the 20-year-old started getting more opportunities to play. He’s played in the MTN8 final this year and did not looked fazed. He was unfortunate to miss out on the CAF Confederation Cup due to injury. He now forms part of a strong midfield with Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Dean Furman.

3. Sinethemba Jantjie (Free State Stars)

He is 28, so he had to wait long for his PSL breakthrough. Jantjie joined Ea Lla Koto in 2016, but only started playing at the start of 2017. He played in all but one of the league matches in the second half of last season and has not missed a single game in the current campaign. Jantjie is one of the most enterprising wingers in the league, with his ability to cut in from the left flank to either whip in a cross or take a shot at goal. He has been linked with a move to Kaizer Chiefs.

4. Phetso Maphanga (ChippaUnited/Orlando Pirates)

Unlike some players who get opportunities at age 20 or 21, Maphanga had to wait until he was 24 for his breakthrough. He joined Chippa from Cape Town All Stars and impressed from the word go at left back. He is a threat going forward because of his pace and good ball skills. He made 16 appearances in all competitions for the Chilli Boys and will be joining Pirates in January.

5. Sizwe Mdlinzo (Chippa United)

Like Maphanga, Mdlinzo joined Chippa from National First Division side All Stars. Since making his debut for the club, Mdlinzo has only missed one of Chippa’s 15 Absa Premiership matches this season. He’s a midfielder with good vision, energy and combines well with the likes of Mark Mayambela, Abel Mabaso and Kurt Lentjies.

6. Taariq Fielies (Cape Town City)

When he signed for City from Milano United, not many would have expected him to get ahead of Tshepo Gumede in the starting line-up. But coach Benni McCarthy gave him an opportunity and the 25-year-old did not waste it. The Ajax Cape Town product has made 18 appearances in all competitions. He has formed a good partnership with captain Robyn Johannes in central defence.

7. Wiseman Meyiwa (Kaizer Chiefs)

Meyiwa has been a key player at junior national team level, representing the under-17s and 20s at the Fifa World Cup. He had been training with the Chiefs first team last season and he finally got his chance in this campaign in a match against Cape Town City. It turned out to be a dream debut for the midfielder, as he became the youngest Amakhosi player to score in the PSL.

8. Siyabonga Ngezana (Kaizer Chiefs)

Injuries in defence turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Amakhosi coach Steve Komphela, who called on the lanky Ngezana in a big Absa Premiership match against Sundowns. Like Meyiwa, Ngezana scored on debut as Chiefs recorded a much needed 2-1 victory over the Tshwane giants. He has kept his place in defence ahead of the likes of Lorenzo Gordinho and Mulomowandau Mathoho.

9. Katlego Otladisa (Platinum Stars)

Word is that Otladisa has attracted interest from the big clubs in Gauteng and this comes as no surprise. He has been one of Dikwena’s best players in a difficult first half of the season and the club could make big money from him in future, if they consider selling him. He got a chance to prove himself in the first team when coach Roger de Sa arrived. He has since made 10 appearances in all competitions.

10. Siphelele Magubane (Golden Arrows)

Though he made two appearances for Arrows in 2016, Magubane only started playing regular towards the end of last season in May this year and finished the campaign with one goal, against Baroka. This season he is the club’s top scorer with four goals in 14 Absa Premiership appearances. He is a nuisance for defenders

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