Footballer of the Year controversy

2012-06-02 16:24

From one attacking midfielder Teko Modise to another, Thulani Serero, and now veteran marksman Siyabonga Nomvethe, the PSL (Premier Soccer League) Footballer of the Season award has courted controversy.

Previously, many believed that striker Elias Pelembe, defender Lucas Thwala, midfielder Andile Jali and now defender Siyabonga Sangweni deserved it.

Since its inception, the Footballer of the Season award has divided the football fraternity. The set criteria for the award is that it’s supposed to go to a player who made the most and telling contribution for his club in all PSL competitions.

Last weekend, football followers accused the judges (in this case, the coaches) of snubbing Sangweni when the award went to Nomvethe of Moroka Swallows.

The veteran forward was voted by his peers as PSL Players’ Player of the Season and the media voted him for the Absa Premiership Player of the Season.

Nomvethe also walked away with the top-scorer award after banging in 20 goals. These awards were only for the league campaign.

Those who argue for Sangweni say he not only participated in all competitions but also helped the Buccaneers lift the MTN8, Telkom Knockout and the Absa Premiership title.

Nomvethe, on the other hand, did not participate in the season opener MTN8 after Swallows failed to qualify, and the club had a poor run in the Telkom Knockout where they lost to Pirates in the quarterfinals.

The Beautiful Birds tripped in the Nedbank Cup first round with Pirates losing out in the Last 16.

It was only in the 2009/10 season when defender Morgan Gould won the award that “football experts” agreed with the judges. The following season (2010/11), it was back to the same argument when sensational Thulani Serero of Ajax Cape Town won it. Many had said Jali was the more deserving player after winning a treble with Pirates – a feat achieved by Sangweni this past season.

Are the two – Sangweni and Jali – paying for Modise’s deeds? Modise won the award in two successive seasons, despite Pirates not winning a single trophy. The PSL must now spell out the criteria loud and clear.

Another bone of contention has been the absence of a prize for runners-up in the player awards. Swallows’ midfielder David Mathebula left the Sunday event empty-handed. He was nominated for Absa Premiership Player of the Year, Absa-lutely Awesome Goal of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season while Sangweni was vying for the Absa Premiership Player of the Year and the PSL Footballer of the Season.

They both left empty-handed.

Also, how do you justify a player (Benni McCarthy) winning the Absa-lutely Awesome Goal worth R50 000 for a single goal and Nomvethe receiving the same amount for scoring 20 goals?

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