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.
We continue our analysis with the Telkom Knockout Player of the Tournament award, which will this year be contested by Amr Gamal, Darren Keet and Lantshene Phalane.
Brought in on loan from African giants Al Ahly, a lot was expected from the Egyptian international, yet his stay in the country was short-lived as he cut his Bidvest Wits adventure short in search of more game-time in Finland, where he know turns out for Helsinki. Yet in the seven months he spent in the PSL, the 26-year-old made his mark in helping the league champions continue their success in achieving Telkom Knockout glory despite their poor showing in the league. Gamal started all four games of the competition for the Clever Boys, and was the hero in their tournament opener as his brace saw off Free State Stars in an extra-time 4-2 victory which secured their progression. His 10th-minute goal proved to be the winner in a 1-0 quarter-final victory over Baroka, and although he didn’t add to his tally in the semi-final and final, Gamal ended as the tournament’s joint-top scorer and bagged the assist for Vincent Pule in Wits’ 1-0 final victory over Bloemfontein Celtic.
After lifting the league trophy with Wits at the end of last season, Keet helped the Students bag a second prize in the space of six months following his reliable performances between the sticks. Featuring in all four games of the tournament, the 2016/17 PSL Goalkeeper of the Season only conceded in Wits’ tournament-opener against Free State Stars – one of which was a penalty – in their 4-2 win. Thereafter, he was able to shut out Baroka, Kaizer Chiefs and most importantly Bloemfontein Celtic in the final, keeping three clean sheets as the Clever Boys claimed the title.
Despite ending on the losing team in the final, Phalane’s performances throughout the competition cannot be dismissed as his hard work and tenacity helped the Bloemfontein club reach a cup final for the first time since 2012. The box-to-box midfielder played every single minute of his side’s campaign, which twice extended to 120 minutes in penalty shootout victories over SuperSport United and Polokwane City. The 28-year-old’s hard work was rewarded as he scored the leveller in Celtic’s 2-1 quarter-final victory, yet his side ended agonisingly close to eventual glory following their narrow 1-0 defeat to Wits in the final, with Pule scoring on the stroke of full-time.
Who do you feel is most deserving of the Telkom Knockout Player of the Tournament award?