JOHANNESBURG - Percy Tau, rather predictably, took the lion’s share of the prize money at the Premier Soccer League awards on Tuesday night as he was crowned Footballer of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season – an honour bestowed on him by his peers.
The total amount the Mamelodi Sundowns attacker pocketed for collecting the two awards came to a staggering R450 000.
He was the favourite long before the end of the 2017-18 season, one in which he helped the Brazilians clinch the Absa Premiership title earlier this month.
All 16 PSL coaches cast their vote for the Footballer of the Season and the majority – as evidenced by Tau being the recipient of the coveted accolade – picked the 24-year-old as the best player this year.
He beat Siphesihle Ndlovu of Maritzburg United and teammate and captain Hlompho Kekana, who were nominated alongside him last week.
Subsequent to his marauding performances in the campaign that has just ended, Tau, who started 29 of his side’s 30 league games and scored 11 goals while also having a hand in 15 others, is already the subject of speculation linking him to a move abroad.
His coach Pitso Mosimane confirmed earlier this week that he had resigned himself to losing the player to a club in Europe because the Brazilians have received numerous offers for his services – and Tau is said to be keen to test himself overseas.
Another player that also enjoyed a great deal of attention this season, although not as much as Tau, was the young Ndlovu at Maritzburg.
He also walked away with two awards after he was named as the Midfielder of the Season as well as the Young Player of the Season – a combined prize money of R100 000.
While the Young Player of the Season gong did not come as a surprise, being crowned the Midfielder of the Season ahead of Kekana and Orlando Pirates’ Musa Nyatama could possibly be an ongoing debate.
Both Kekana and Nyatama were seen as vital cogs in the championship race for their respective clubs – guiding Sundowns to win the league in Kekana’s case, while Nyatama morphed into a goal scorer and creator for the Buccaneers, who finished runners-up.
Ndlovu too was important for the Team of Choice, but at times his inexperience was noticeable and Maritzburg finished in fourth place.
The criteria set was to only take league matches into account, but it would have been near impossible to ignore the fact that Ndlovu’s team reached the semi-finals of the MTN8, the final of the Nedbank Cup and achieved their highest ever finish on the log table.
Meanwhile, Sundowns coach Mosimane was also among the winners as he stepped up to collect the Coach of the Season award, a category in which he was nominated alongside Maritzburg’s Fadlu Davids and Micho Sredojevic of Pirates.
The King of South African football for the 2017/18 seaon, Percy Tau. pic.twitter.com/w0LKfiZAVO
The Brazilians clinched their third title in four full seasons under Mosimane and have not finished below second place since he arrived, with the 2012-13 campaign an exception after the coach only arrived halfway into the term to replace Johan Neeskens and rescue Sundowns from relegation.
Footballer of the Season: Percy Tau
Players’ Player of the Season: Percy Tau
Young Player of the Season: Siphesihle Ndlovu
Goalkeeper of the Season: Itumeleng Khune (Chiefs)
Defender of the Season: Siyanda Xulu (Maritzburg)
Midfielder of the Season: Siphesihle Ndlovu
Goal of the Season: Siphelele Magubane (Golden Arrows)
MTN8 Last Man Standing: Ronwen Williams
Telkom Knockout Player of the Tournament: Amr Gamal (while at Wits)
Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament: Lebogang Maboe (Maritzburg)
Nedbank Cup Most Promising: Lebogang Maboe