CAPE TOWN - Lebogang Manyama and Rivaldo Coetzee were the big winners at the awards presentations of the two Mother City PSL clubs at the weekend.
There could hardly be any doubters with regards to their success as both Cape Town City’s Manyama and Ajax Cape Town’s Coetzee fully deserved their accolades. And so, as the two teams prepare for their final games of the 2016-17 PSL programme on Saturday afternoon, it’s an opportunity for both Manyama and Coetzee to demonstrate just why their clubs and their teammates rate them so highly.
After a stellar season, in which he has been central to City’s success, Manyama was named as the club’s Player of the Season. In an erratic campaign for Ajax, Coetzee was as reliable and consistent as ever, and he was named as the Player of the Season and the Players’ Player of the Season.
This week, City finish off their league campaign with an away trip to take on Polokwane City, while Ajax are at home to relegation-threatened Baroka FC at the Cape Town Stadium (both 3pm kickoffs).
City, in keeping with their “team first” culture, gave just two awards - Manyama, and then the Most Valuable Player gong going to veteran right-back Vincent Kobola. Both players dedicated their trophies to their teammates.
There were also some fun awards at the City ceremony, with winger Bhongolethu Jayiya playing MC and the players handing out prizes to their teammates for things like Best Dance Move, Complainer of the Year and even Chef of the Season.
The biggest cheer, though, was reserved for Kobola, the 32-year-old who is widely respected throughout the City squad for his advice and leadership.
As City prepare for Polokwane on Saturday, they know they have third-place secured. But, at the same time, if Mamelodi Sundowns stumble in their clash with Highlands Park, and City win, then the Capetonians could finish the season in second position.
For Manyama, there is also the added incentive of finishing the season as the PSL’s top goal-scorer. As it stands, going into the final round of fixtures, the City skipper leads with 13 goals, just one ahead of Orlando Pirates striker Tendai Ndoro.
Meanwhile, Ajax, after picking up 14 points in their last seven games (four wins, two draws and one defeat), have rocketed into eighth spot on the PSL standings.
To seal their place, though, they are probably going to need a win against Baroka on Saturday because Maritzburg United, Golden Arrows, Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates are all in the scrap to get into the top eight.
At the awards night, while Coetzee stole the spotlight, there was also a well-deserved prize for the club’s most promising emerging star, Grant Margeman, who was named as the Rookie of the Season. Not only did the 18-year-old from Bonteheuwel impress in his first season in the PSL, but he has also been the mainstay of the South Africa Under-20 squad.
Baroka will be just as motivated, however. They are in the five-team dog-fight to avoid relegation from the PSL or the dreaded promotion playoff spot.
While Wits have already won the PSL title, it’s nevertheless shaping up to be an intriguing finish to the season - in the race for runners-up, in the battle for the top eight and in the relegation struggle.