Modise named Footballer of the Year

26 May 2008

The inaugural Premier Soccer League Awards were hosted at the Theatre on the Track in Kyalami on Sunday evening, with Teko Modise walking away with the biggest honour and the biggest cheque after he was named Footballer of the Year, for which he pocketed a cool R250 000.

Although he had a good season, Modise’s award was somewhat surprising when one considers that his club, Orlando Pirates, finished only eighth in the 16-team PSL, and lost in the first round of the Telkom Knockout Cup and the Nedbank Cup; usually individual awards are strongly tied to the success of teams.

With a new look at the top end of the PSL table – after SuperSport United, Ajax Cape Town, and Santos finished 1-2-3 – the expectation was that the winner of Footballer of the Year would come from one of those clubs. Yet Modise, who netted four goals in the league, walked away with the award, which was determined by a vote of PSL coaches.

Surprised

He admitted to the PSL website that the award had surprised even him: “I didn’t expect to win anything major. The other nominees for the award were brilliant,” he said.

“It was a tough season. I played lots of games for the club and the national side. I thought, at some stage through the season, that I’d burn out.”

Kaizer Chiefs finished sixth in the league, but had the stingiest defence, allowing only 20 goals in their 30 games. Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune played a big role in the Amakhosi’s defensive prowess and his contribution was recognised by his fellow professionals when he was named the Players’ Player of the Year, as well as Goalkeeper of the year. The awards were worth R150 000 and R50 000 respectively.

Big impact

SuperSport United winger Elias ‘Dominguez’ Pelembe was named the Absa Premiership Player of the Year, which was worth R150 000. The Mozambican certainly made a big impact in his first season in the PSL.

Matsatsantsa’s league success was further reflected in the awarding of the Coach of the Year award to their coach, Gavin Hunt. It marked the second time Hunt has won the award. He previously claimed it six years ago with Black Leopards.

United also claimed the goal of the season, worth R50 000, with the award going the way of defender Siboniso Gaxa for a stunning strike against the side’s Pretoria rivals, Mamelodi Sundowns.

Surprised

Moroka Swallows’ striker James Chamanga received R14 000 for finishing as the top goal scorer in the PSL, which won him the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot Award. That worked out at R1 000 for each goal he scored.

If he had hit just one more goal he would have reached the minimum target set by the sponsors, Absa, and been rewarded with R50 000.

Chamanga’s tally was boosted by a stunning outing against against Platinum Stars in December in which he hit five goals in a 6-2 win.

Chairman’s Award

The Chairman’s Award, decided by PSL Chairman, Dr Irvin Khoza, went to Kenyan Musa Otieno for his services to football in South Africa.

He joined Santos in 1997 and was a star in defence for the People’s Team as they became a powerful presence in the PSL, including winning the title in 2002. From next season he will be campaigning in the USA, playing for the Cleveland City Stars. Otieno’s award was worth R100 000.

Although Mamelodi Sundowns won the Nedbank Cup, it was the team they beat in the final, Mpumalanga Black Aces, which claimed the big individual prizes.

First Division winners

The First Division club’s Vusiwe Masondo was named Player of the Tournament, which earned him a nice bonus of R100 000, while Thabang Rooi was named the Most Promising Player of the Tournament.

The National First Division Player of the Year was divided into awards for the top players in the two streams, Inland and Coastal. The Inland Player of the Year went to Dynamos’ Joseph Mthombeni, while the Coastal honours went to Ikapa Sporting FC’s Kurt Lentjies.

Garankuwa United’s Reason Chiloane, despite playing for the team that finished bottom of the Inland Stream, was the top goal scorer in that section of the First Division, while the position was reversed in the Coastal Stream where Fadlu Davids of table-topping Maritzburg United was the top scorer.

The referee of the year award went to Ace Ncobo, while Enock Molefe was named the best assistant.

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