Khune ‘humbled’ by awards haul

2013-05-27 12:09

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After being rewarded for a superb season, Kaizer Chiefs captain and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune said he was delighted to be honoured for his exploits.

The Bafana Bafana shot stopper was recognised at the annual Premier Soccer League (PSL) awards evening in Johannesburg yesterday.

Khune walked away with no less than four accolades on the night, claiming the Footballer of the Season, Players’ Player of the Season, Goalkeeper of the Season and Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament honours and earning himself R575 000 in prize money.

“To be recognised as the best player in the PSL, I’m so humbled,” said Khune.

“I’m so happy and excited at the same time. I think I have an even bigger challenge next season to defend all the awards that I won this season. All eyes will be on me.”

Meanwhile, Amakhosi boss Stuart Baxter scooped the Absa Premiership Coach of the Season award in his first season in charge of the Naturena outfit.

“When you’re at a club like Kaizer Chiefs, such a massive club and they’ve not won anything for such a long time, there’s pressure,” said Baxter.

“I have to thank the fans, because they’ve stuck with Chiefs for eight years of desolation and I hope it feels good now that we’ve won something.

“The chairman (Kaizer Motaung) has been outstanding for us – he’s been an inspiration – and the management team have supported the boys all the way through the year.”

Amakhosi led the league standings from the opening round of fixtures, and held on at the back end of the campaign to finish one point clear of high-flying Platinum Stars, and five points ahead of Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates, who finished third.

Moroka Swallows, who had been impressive the previous season, lifted the first trophy of the 2012/13 campaign when they beat SuperSport United in the MTN8 final, but they ended the league season in ninth position, and will not defend their cup title later this year.

Bloemfontein Celtic then defeated Mamelodi Sundowns at Moses Mabhida Stadium to lift their first Telkom Knockout title.

Chiefs waited until the last couple of weeks of the season to secure the last two trophies on offer, bagging the league and Nedbank Cup crowns.

While Amakhosi were leading the charge at the top of the table, rookies University of Pretoria were one of the standout clubs of the season.

AmaTuks enjoyed a hugely successful maiden campaign in the Premiership, securing eighth position on the last day of the league season and beating Chiefs in the process.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Mamelodi Sundowns suffered their worst start to a Premiership season, as the Chloorkop outfit sank to last place under coach Johan Neeskens.

Neeskens was subsequently sacked by club owner Patrice Motsepe, who hired former Bafana Bafana boss Pitso Mosimane as the Dutch mentor’s replacement.

Mosimane led Sundowns safely clear of the relegation zone, but they finished in a disappointing 10th overall.

There was also disappointment for Limpopo side Black Leopards after the club was relegated from the Premiership following their poor campaign, which resulted in only five victories throughout the season.

Newcomers Chippa United finished second from bottom and will hope to dominate the promotion/relegation play-offs in an effort to retain their place in the country’s top tier.

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