After picking up the first-ever South African Football Journalists’ Association (Safja) Men’s Footballer of the Season award, Themba Zwane will be looking to add another PSL FOTS to his growing collection. Here SoccerClub writers DEAN WORKMAN and DYLAN APPOLIS state their cases for the winner of the award.
Zwane was a unanimous winner of the Safja award at the end of September, with 60% of the organisation’s 108 members voting for the Sundowns man to win the award picked by the country’s football writers.
The Bafana Bafana star was a key contributor as his side went on to dominate all that was in front of them during the 2019-20 season, winning the final edition of the Absa Premiership, the Telkom Knockout and the Nedbank Cup to bank a historical treble.
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The Bafana Bafana star played 41 games across all competitions scoring 14 goals, while also providing 12 assists. His contributions, though, also came at vital times for the Brazilians and were instrumental in their chasing down Kaizer Chiefs in the final stretch.
Zwane, though, will not be the only contender for the award with Kaizer Chiefs duo Samir Nurkovic and Lebogang Manyama also touted to challenge.
Here our writers make their picks:
Dean Workman: For me, no one can look past Themba Zwane for the PSL Footballer of the Season. Mshishi has started to step up in recent seasons to help fill the void after the likes of Percy Tau, Keagan Dolly and Khama Billiat left Chloorkop.
Zwane was a vital cog in Pitso Mosimane’s machine and often popped up at the right time with match-winning contributions, whether it be through his 14 goals or 12 assists, which ultimately helped Downs sweep all the domestic trophies on offer.
As we have seen over the years across the footballing world, team triumphs and titles often translate into individual accolades. There may be other strong contenders for this award but, at the end of the day, Zwane’s contributions resulted in the success of his side which can’t be said for the likes of Manayam and Nurkovic, despite their fine respective campaigns.
Dylan Appolis: While Zwane is one of the front-runners to claim the award, I have to say Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic is my pick. He has been a revelation since arriving from Slovakia at the start of the 2019-20 season.
For someone who just finished his debut season playing in South Africa’s top flight, Nurkovic hit the ground running by scoring 14 goals and assisting a further six from 31 appearances across all competitions.
The lanky forward finished the Absa Premiership campaign two goals short of Orlando Pirates forward Gabadinho Mhango and Peter Shalulile of Highlands Park, who netted 15 goals each to share the Golden Boot award.
Nurkovic, who has vast experience playing for numerous clubs in Serbia, is a strong contender for the title. His work rate in attack and defence for Amakhosi will surely be testimony to his performance last season, despite narrowly missing out on the Absa Premiership title.
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