PSL awards: Then and now

Mamelodi Sundowns sensation Percy Tau was the big winner on the night, scooping the Absa Premiership Top Scorer, Players’ Player and Footballer of the Season gongs following his rip-roaring campaign for the Brazilians.

As it is always good to monitor your development and see where you’re going, looks at the progress each individual winner has made over the past five years, while also taking a trip down memory lane in remembering the recipients of the very same award half a decade ago.

Goalkeeper of the Season: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs)
Despite a disappointing season for Amakhosi, Khune remained his consistent self in keeping the most clean sheets (16) and conceding just 18 goals to claim this award for the fourth time in his career. Coincidentally, he was the winner of the same award five years ago, having helped the Glamour Boys to league and Nedbank Cup glory in the 2012/13 season.

Defender of the Season: Siyanda Xulu (Maritzburg United)
A worthy winner after his solid performances at the back in his first season with the Team of Choice, Xulu was instrumental in helping the club achieve their record-high fourth-place finish in the Absa Premiership. Five years ago, the then 21-year-old had just left Sundowns to join FC Rostov in the Russian Premier League where he spent three seasons, helping them win the 2013/14 Russian Cup, before his forgettable two years at Kaizer Chiefs.

There was no award handed to the Defender of the Season for 2012/13.

Midfielder of the Season and Young Player of Season: Siphesihle Ndlovu (Maritzburg United)
Ndlovu’s impressive campaign was duly rewarded after being announced as the winner in both these prestigious categories. The 21-year-old has come a long way over the past half-decade, having joined the Maritzburg United academy from the now defunct Umgungundlovu Academy, acting as a ball-boy for the first team before earning his first team debut in October 2016.

No Midfielder of the Season prize was awarded back in 2013, with that season’s Young Player of the Season accolade won by then 21-year-old Ronwen Williams, who kept goal in 28 league matches for SuperSport United that season as they finished sixth, while helping them reach the Nedbank Cup final where they narrowly lost 1-0 to Kaizer Chiefs.

Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament and Most Promising Player: Lebogang Maboe (Maritzburg United)
In just his second season at the club, Maboe grew into his own over the past year, establishing himself as the engine of the Maritzburg midfield in propelling them to the Nedbank Cup final, where they were pipped to the post by Free State Stars. Maboe’s impact was clear to see, being awarded both accolades for this cup competition, having proved his worth following his switch from NFD club Mbombela United just two years ago.

The 2012/13 Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament was awarded to Itumeleng Khune after he helped Kaizer Chiefs to glory, while that season’s Young Player of the Tournament gong went to then 22-year-old Platinum Stars defender Tshepo Gumede, who had helped Dikwena reach the semi-finals. Gumede left for an unsuccessful stint at Orlando Pirates two years later, before spending the next two seasons at Cape Town City from where he has recently been released.

MTN8 Last Man Standing: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United)
Williams proved the difference as SuperSport claimed MTN8 glory this season, letting in just two goals the entire tournament while saving two penalties in the final shoot-out win over Cape Town City. A long-time servant at Matsatsantsa, Williams was already the club’s first-choice five years ago, bagging the Absa Premiership Young Player of the Season award that year.

The MTN8 Last Man Standing award in 2012/13 went to then Moroka Swallows winger Lerato Chabangu, who played a starring role for the Birds in their triumphant campaign. The now 32-year-old has endured a tumultuous career since, turning out for Chippa United and lower league outfits Mikhado FC and most recently, Pretoria Callies.

National First Division Top Goal Scorers: Mwape Musonda (Black Leopards) and Peter Shalulile (Highlands Park)
Shalulile and Musonda both top scored in the National First Division, bagging 15 goals apiece as Highlands Park cruised to glory, with Leopards finishing 19 points behind in second spot. Five years ago, Shalulile was plying his trade at Namibian outfit Tura magic ahead of his move to the Lions of the North in 2015, while journeyman Musonda had just netted 10 goals for Zambia’s Konkola Mine Police before a loan move to Zanaco, after which followed mediocre spells at Pirates and Golden Arrows before signing for Lidoda Duvha in 2016.

Five years ago the NFD top scorers were Nkosinathi Mthiyane of Thanda Royal Zulu and Milano United’s Lesvin Stoffels, who both netted 14 goals that campaign. Mthiyane has since bounced between AmaZulu, Chippa United, Golden Arrows and Orlando Pirates, where he has since been released, while Stoffels remained at Milano, spending last season at Cape Town All Stars before returning to the renamed Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC this season, where he scored just two league goals in 24 games.

Telkom Knockout Player of the Tournament: Amr Gamal (Bidvest Wits)
Egyptian striker Gamal may not have made the desired impact at Bidvest Wits this season, but still ended the club’s successful Telkom Knockout campaign as the tournament’s highest scorer, duly receiving this award for his efforts. Five years ago – almost to the day – the then 21-year-old had just made his first team debut for Al Ahly on 28 May 2013, coming off the bench to score a 90th-minute winner in a league encounter. He is now on loan from the Egyptian giants at Finnish club Helsinki.

Five years ago Bloemfontein Celtic’s Joel Mogorosi was named TKO Player of the Tournament, having netted the winner in the club’s final victory over Mamelodi Sundowns. The midfielder remained at Siwelele for another two seasons before moving back home to Botswana club Township Rollers.

Absa Premiership Coach of the Season: Pitso Mosimane (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Mosimane earned his third Coach of the Season prize after guiding the Brazilians to their eighth Premiership title of the PSL era. Half a decade ago, Mosimane guided the club to 10th place in the league, having taken over midway through the season with the club in danger of relegation. Since then he’s led Masandawana to two runners-up league finishes, and three Absa Premiership titles.

Current Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter was Coach of the Season five years ago, having been at the helm at Kaizer Chiefs who claimed league glory. Two years later, after a short stint at Turkish club Genclerbirligi, he joined SuperSport United, helping them claim back-to-back Nedbank Cup successes before being named South Africa’s national team coach for a second time last year.

Players’ Player and Footballer of the Season: Percy Tau (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Tau topped both the assist and scoring charts as he dominated the awards ceremony on Tuesday night, deservedly claiming the biggest prizes on offer – the Players’ Player and Footballer of the Season awards. Five years ago, the then 19-year-old was part of the Downs academy, and had impressed while playing for Clapham College – the school that educates youngsters from Sundowns’ development – at the Under-19 Sanlam Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, before signing his first professional contract with the Brazilians later that year.

Itumeleng Khune claimed both the above-mentioned awards, along with the Goalkeeper of the Season prize, in Kaizer Chiefs’ successful 2012/13 season five years ago.

Interesting fact: Five years ago, Victor Gomes was named the PSL Referee of the Season, and once again claimed the same prize this year.