Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane and Bidvest Wits striker Gift Motupa have the bragging rights after they were named Absa Premiership’s best coach and player for December.
The pair broke Kaizer Chiefs’s two months of dominantion in the monthly awards, which had seen Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp and goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi win the prize for September/October.
Middendorp also claimed the November coach’s accolade.
“Winning today felt great and it was a big motivation for me. I think this will push me to work even harder so I can collect more awards like this one,” Motupa told City Press on the sidelines of the announcement of the latest at the PSL headquarters in Parktown on Thursday afternoon.
The 25-year-old dedicated his award to his teammates, as well Wits coach Gavin Hunt who he said had “given me a chance”.
“I have not been playing regularly but after being given the chance, I showed that I was hungry to play and I score more goals and helped the team to win,” said the player.
The Clever Boys’ attacking player said the goal was “to finish at the top of the league if not then second place at least”.
Meanwhile, Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic scooped the goal of the month award for December.
He scored a hat-trick against Bloemfontein Celtic last month, and one of his goals caught the judges’ eye in Amakhosi 5-3 victory over their opponents in Durban.
“That goal was very important in its context because it brought us level and the hat-trick was my first for Kaizer Chiefs,” said the Serbian.
Recalling his first Premiership goal, Nurkovic said that as much as it meant a lot to him, “every goal is important as long as we are collecting points”.
“The feeling I had when I scored my first goal is the same feeling I have now. It is a wonderful feeling,” he told City Press.
The Serbian striker nicknamed “Kokota Piano”, joined Amakhosi from Slovakia club FKC Komarno at the start of the current season.
He scored his PSL debut goal against Supersport United in a 1-1 draw at FNB Stadium in August last year.
“I have scored a lot of goals in my career. I had thought that first goal I scored in the league would have won goal of the month for that month, it didn’t but I have won this award now and I am happy.”
Nurkovic said the aim going forward was to “focus more, keep fighting with the same spirit and keep on collecting points”.
Asked about pressure from other rival players, including Orlando Pirates and PSL top scorer Gabadinho Mhango, Nurkovic said competition in the game was always healthy.
“It’s good competition and I am going to try my best in every game and in the end maybe take the golden boot. I am optimistic,” he said.
Chiefs currently top the league table with 42 points from 18 games, while Sundowns are on 35 points; Wits and Pirates (jointly on 30 points) are placed fourth and fifth, respectively.