Mbulelo Mabizela, Knowledge Musona, Itumeleng Khune and most recently Keagan Dolly are some of the names that have been named Rookie of the Year, now known as the PSL Young Player of the Season, after kickstarting their professional careers in the South African top tier. They have since gone to be fully established internationals and are recognised across the African continent.
This season saw a new breed of youngsters who will try to undergo the same route in their journey to stardom and Goal picks the ten most impressive Rookies in the nearly concluded 2016/17 season:
Reeve Frosler (Bidvest Wits)
Starting at the champions base, the injury to the ever reliable Nazeer Allie and with his backup, Siyabonga Nhlapho, already sent on loan to Highlands Park, Gavin Hunt looked no further and called upon academy player and South Africa's World Cup U/17 and U/20 defender Frosler who hit the ground running instantly and impressed throughout the 11 appearances he featured in.
Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Likewise, injuries to Wayne Arendse and Soumahoro Bangaly left Mamelodi Sundowns stripped at the centre-back position and forced Pitso Mosimane to call on junior international defender Madisha. The 22-year-old fitted like a glove and impressed with ten appearances and two goals.
Edmilson Dove (Cape Town City)
Cape Town City's Mozambican international, Dove, proved why the Citizens tracked and eventually signed him from Ferroviario de Beira in the January transfer window. The 22-year-old soon made the left-back position his own until he was derailed by a niggling hamstring injury. Dove made nine appearances since his arrival in January.
Walter Musona (Polokwane City)
The younger brother of the ‘Smiling Assassin’ has shown tremendous potential despite limited game time at Rise and Shine. The 21-year-old made 12 appearances and scored once.
Lebogang Maboe (Maritzburg United)
The engine of Fadlu Davids’ charges! Maboe has been instrumental in United’s quest for the top-8. With Philani Zulu side-lined for contractual disputes, Team of Choice needed a midfield replacement and Maboe assumed responsibility and flourished in 23-appearances.
Grant Margeman (Ajax Cape Town)
It wouldn’t be a PSL season without a rookie from Ajax! Indeed, the Cape side have produced another gem in the 18-yearold who scored three times in 13 appearances.
Siphamandla Mlilo (Platinum Stars)
The hard-tackling defender has impressed alongside the old-head -Gift Sithole- in the heart of Dikwena’s defense. Despite seeing three red cards in a season that saw him total 20-appearances.
Joseph Okumu (Free State Stars)
The 19-year-old Kenyan defender has served as back up to either Rooi Mahamutsa or Thamsanqa Teyise for most parts of the season but has been impressive when given the run. Okumu appeared just eight times for Ea La Kotou and is touted as a future Harambee Stars defender.
Tebogo Mokoena (SuperSport United)
Arguably the best Rookie this campaign. The 20-year-old forced his way into Stuart Baxters XI after the injury of Cole Alexander. His eye-catching performances also saw him walk away with a number of man-of-the-match accolades whilst he was also the reason for a tug of war between Matsatsantsa and SAFA after refusing to release him early for the U20 World Cup in Korea.
Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs)
The 22-year-old goalkeeper starred for Kaizer Chiefs in the absence of both Itumeleng Khune and Brilliant Khuzwayo. Bvuma appeared twice for Amakhosi but Steve Komphela’s men can now rest assured knowing what their third-choice goalkeeper is capable of.