JOHANNESBURG - In a true sign of leadership, three club captains - striker Lebogang Manyama of Cape Town City, Mamelodi Sundowns anchorman Hlompho Kekana and defender Thulani Hlatshwayo of Bidvest Wits - were all nominated for the Footballer of the Season award, the Premier Soccer League announcing on Monday.
The full list was revealed two days after the end of a long campaign that only officially came to an end on Saturday night with SuperSport United thrashing Orlando Pirates 4-1 in the final of the Nedbank Cup final.
“This is such a huge boost for the national team,” said Kekana. “We always talk about taking responsibility when we are in Bafana camp and to see three captain, who are all South African, being nominated for this award means it will obviously rub off at that level. I think Lebo and Thulani have shown great character at their clubs.”
Kekana is no stranger to being a candidate for the best player of the season having been one of three nominees last year when he was competing for the accolade with Sundowns teammates Keagan Dolly and eventual winner Khama Billiat.
“I feel I am already a winner,” the Sundowns skipper said. “I say that because it is very difficult to get recognition for the position that I play, and when you get this nomination you realise someone is watching and appreciating. I am inspired to do more.”
PSL Awards Nominees
Footballer of the Season: Hlompho Kekana, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Lebogang Manyama
Top Goal-Scorer: Lebogang Manyama
Players’ Player: Lebogang Manyama, Aubrey Ngoma, Percy Tau
Goalkeeper: Darren Keet, Denis Onyango, Shu-Aib Walters
Defender: Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sifiso Hlanti, Ramahlwe Mphahlele.
Midfielder: Hlompho Kekana, Thabang Monare, Aubrey Ngoma
Young Player: Motjeka Madisha, Phakamani Mahlambi, Nduduzo Sibiya
Coach: Gavin Hunt, Pitso Mosimane, Eric Tinkler