Monday, 14 May 2012

The 2012 ABSA Premier awards... and the winners are...

THIS is moment we've all been waiting for, off the field, as the climax to the South African football season approaches on the pitch. The ABSA Premier awards nominees for 2012. Fascinating. It's never easy to decide these things but these are the glaring ommissions.No mention of Siphiwe Tshabalala, the handsome Bafana Bafana hero of the 2010 World Cup who has worked so hard amid the chaos of Amakhosi's political problems this season.
No mention of Lucky Lekgwathi, the veteran Orlando Pirates captain, approaching 40, who works tirelessly and produced THAT last-gasp goal against SuperSport United a fortnight ago.
No mention of Kenney Mweene, so vital in Zambia's 2012 AFCON triumph and the rise of the Free State Stars, the little stars of Bethlehem who are threatening to finish right up the top of the Premier League this season, among the big boys.
No matter, we must accept these things, just like we have to accept Irvin Khosa and Kaizer Motaung launching their precious Charity Cup rubbish right in the middle of the Premier League melting pot and before the Nedbank Cup final. Ludicrous.
I have no bias. Though I am taking flak from Orlando Pirates Ghosts as the final round of Premier League fixtures approaches, my loyalties remain with the now-defunct Umlazi Bush Bucks, champions way back in 1986.
Though I have been predicted Moroka Swallows would rise from the ashes of relegation contenders last season, I believe the Buccaneers will triumph this week against the Golden Arrows in Durban and retain their title.
Without further ado, let's have a look as the nominees... with my suggested winners and why... please feel free to debate by adding your comment below.

Absa HOT Young Player:

  • Lucky Baloyi – Kaizer Chiefs
  • Ronwen Williams – SuperSport United
  • Lehlohonolo Masalesa – Bidvest Wits
Toughest category of all. Baloyi has certainly impressed during a troubled season. And next season promises to be even tougher with Stuart "Dodgy CV" Baxter in charge of the Amakhosi. I spotted Masalesa earlier this season, but Wits have been terrible of late. Williams has been impressive  but he operates behind Gavin Hunt's stingy back four, and I guess Bloemfontein Celtic's Tower Mathoho is out of the age range, so it has to be LUCKY BALOYI.
    Absa Premiership Goalkeeper of the Season:

  • Wayne Sandilands – Mamelodi Sundowns
  • Ronwen Williams – SuperSport United
  • Moeneeb Josephs – Orlando Pirates
There's no questions Josephs has offered a lot for Pirates. I believe he spoke for the players during the campaign to get rid of coach Julio Leal and his glowing affirmation of caretaker Augusto Palacios was fascinating on Robert Marawa's Thursday Night Live last week. But as a goalkeeper, while superbly vocal, he lacks the reflexes of Williams, the distribution of Kaizer Chiefs' oft-injured Itumeleng Khune and the presence of Free States Stars' AFCON winning No 1 Kennedy Mweene. Taking all those factors into account, the best all-round goalkeeper and a classic shot-stopped? WAYNE SANDILANDS.

Absa–lutely Awesome Goal:

·         Clifford Mulenga – Golden Arrows vs Bloemfontein Celtic
     ·         David Mathebula – Moroka Swallows vs Orlando Pirates
      ·         Benni McCarthy – Orlando Pirates vs Maritzburg United
Personally, I was looking for Bernard Parker's superb free-kick in the first Soweto Derby this season but Goal of the Season will always throw up too many contenders. For me it has to be McCarthy, on as a subsitute for the Buccaneers, raising his creaking 34-year-old body in to position for an overhead kick which matched that of Wayne Rooney's classic. It was late in the game and secured three points against Arrows which may just be the ones that matter by Saturday night. BENNI McCARTHY.

Absa Premiership Coach of the Season:

  • Gavin Hunt – SuperSport United
  • Gordon Igesund – Moroka Swallows
  • Steve Khompela – Free State Stars
For me, Hunt ruled himself out of contention with his anti-referee rant after the Unlucky last-gasp defeat against Pirates a fortnight ago. Too much Sir Alex Ferguson. Igesund has, as I've said so often, taken his Birds from relegation fodder to championship contenders in a year with a carefully composed collection of rejects, alcoholics and veterans. This weekend, he could well clinch that title. But for me, the talkative Khompela takes the cake. His little Stars of Bethlehem have been on my agenda all season. A small-town side without much money have pushed the big boys all the way. He should have been offered the Chiefs job ahead of Baxter and I suspect his elevation to Pitso Mosimane's assistant with Bafana will only be temporary. He has all the attributes to lead his country at AFCON here next year. STEVE KHOMPELA

Absa Premiership Player of the Season:

  • David Mathebula – Moroka Swallows
  • Siyabonga Sangweni – Orlando Pirates
  • Siyabonga Nomvethe – Moroka Swallows
Mathebula, rejected by the glamour clubs, has been immense this season. Goals, distribution, tracking back. Sangweni, scored of a vital winner at Celtic last week, has been equally important for Pirates, in a category where his captain Lucky Lekgwathi also deserves a mention. But how can we look beyond a 34-year-old whose 20 goals have single-handedly propelled the Swallows into contention and put him ahead of all the big name top scorers in the ABSA Premier League in recent years? SIYABONGA NOMVETHE.

Absa Premiership Player’s Player of the Season:

·         Teko Modise
      ·         David Mathebula
      ·         Siyabonga Nomvethe

There were glimpses of the old Buccaneering Modise this season under Johan Neeskens at Sundowns. A brilliant engine, an eye for the defence-splitting pass. But it all fell apart for Downs and their Dutch master at the crucial point of the season. We have talked about Mathebula and Tshabalala in this category, and no doubt the players cast a few votes for McCarthy, Lekgwathi and Sangweni too. But for me, the old gunslinger stands supremer once more. SIYABONGA NOMVETHE.


  1. Just got this from my mate Nicholus (BlackBucs on Twitter)... it's worth a read!

    ABSA Hot Young Player:

    Winner: Ronwen Williams

    The young lad has grown in leaps and bounds in his 1st season as the 1st choice keeper for Hunt’s men. Let me remind you he is still 19y/o, lest we forget. He has been a pillar of strength in an fairly average team this season and has saved them more blushes than I care to remember.

    ABSA Premiership ‘Keeper of the Season:

    Winner: Moeneeb Josephs

    “Slim Kat” has been the difference between a terrible beating and average draws. Always pulling off those cat-like reflex saves. He lead the team from the back and, dare we say, saved the team from the clutches of death when he lead the revolution against Julio “Smooth Talker” Leal. We also cannot turn a blind eye to how he gets the crowd going towards the end of matches when the chips are down, something that is done by no other keeper in the PSL. And we have seen time and time again how the team clinches those last-gasp goals as a result of this.

    ABSA-lutely Awesome Goal of the Season:

    Winner: Benedict McCarthy

    Dr Irvin Khoza seized an opportunity when Benni’s beloved Ajax CT saw none! A masterstroke if you ask me. Benni has contributed more than goals, his teaching of Pirates young guns Rantie, Ndulula and Mabena is visible for all to see. But who will ever forget when he turned back the clock to score that beautiful overhead scissors kick to stun Maritzburg United and Pirates fans alike? He turned back the years to his days at Ajax Amsterdam and scored a wonder goal that we’re yet to see in the season. It was reminiscent of Bebeto’s goal against Bafana Bafana in 1993 at the old FNB Stadium sneak in a 3-2 defeat of the South Africans. As they say: FORM IS TEMPORARY. CLASS IS PERMANENT.

    ABSA Premiership Coach of the Season:

    Winner: Gordon Igesund

    What more can be said of his fairytale run? He took The Beautiful Birds from the clutches of relegation when he was brought in late last season, to very serious and well-deserved title contenders this season. Much has been said about how his team of “Rejects, Boozers and Oldies”. It did cause some rumblings from within the VW Dobsonville-based head offices of Moroka Swallows, but they must take it as a HUGE compliment as it takes a very special man/coach to blend those sort of players into a unit that will clearly die for him on the pitch. Take a bow, Mr Igesund. You deserve all the kudos!

    ABSA Premiership Player of the Season:

    Winner: Siyabonga Nomvethe

    I don’t care who says what, but Bhele has carried this team on his 34y/o shoulders through their fairytale run. He seems to turns back those years every time he steps onto the pitch and outruns players 15 years his junior. We haven’t seen a 20goal striker since Mbesuma’s exploits in the ’04 league-winning Chiefs team. Even better, he’s a local lad who Pitso has chosen to omit from his Bafana squad despite pressure from EVERYBODY else who watches soccer with 2 brain cells to rub together

    ABSA Premiership Players’ Player of the Season:

    Winner: David “Hosi ya mina” Mathebula

    He was discarded from an average Kaizer Chiefs, despite his marauding displays when called upon. Black Aces saw the star in him and he duly delivered. Igesund saw him as the missing piece of his Ornithology puzzle. And he has been a revelation! Reminding all those who poured scorn on him, saying he is finished, what he can do with the pigskin. Any of his peers in the PSL will admit that he rose like the proverbial Phoenix to once again fly.

  2. neal i remember that brazil vs bafana game,i was 5 if it was staged in '93 i remember that goal made bebeto a legend in the townships, if i am not mistaken i think it was caesar's kick. you brought back an old memory and i can vividly remember it wow