After showcasing the best SA players for Bafana, abroad in European leagues and at home in the PSL; it's time to unveil the official shortlist for fans to vote for their winnerSelecting just five players in this final list of South Africa's top players for 2013 has proven more difficult than one could imagine. There's a number of SA players performing admirably across Europe, but local-based stars in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) are proving that they can match our players abroad. This was evident in the large number of PSL names chosen by Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund in his national squads this year.
Then there's the epic run of Orlando Pirates in flying all the way to the Caf Champions League Final, confirming the improvement in standard of the South African league. We at Goal wanted to list about four stand-out Bucs players, including the outstanding Andile Jali who many believe, (along with Chiefs' Yeye) and Pirates' Oupa Manyisa - are the best central midfielders in the country.
However we couldn't select them ahead of Doncaster Rovers' Dean Furman who proved his worth in Bafana colours this year. Furman might have been superb for country, but you can't compare his performances in the lower leagues of England to that of another South African midfielder in the top flight. So, we couldn't just include Bafana players, particularly since this was one man (who isn't in the national team) enjoyed arguably his best season in the English Premier League.
Then let's not forget that it was Kaizer Chiefs that ruled the season by not only winning the PSL, but also the Nedbank Cup. We needed more spots in the shortlist for AmaKhosi's players that made the difference to actually win silverware. Bernard Parker can consider himself most unfortunate to miss out, because he's been so impressive when scoring for Bafana Bafana and winning the double with Chiefs.
However Parker was outscored by Swallows' Katlego Mashego in the PSL top goalscorers chart last season. A quarter of Parker's goals came in one game against AmaZulu in 2012. We should expect him to score more from a team that won the league. We decided that if Parker didn't make the list then no local striker would either. As SuperSport coach Cavin Johnson also told Goal, South African strikers need to improve their finishing. The only forward who made our list is one who doesn't necessarily score, but is a greater threat with his skills and pace upfront; making his mark in a top European league in Sweden.
So, now, without much further ado, the five nominees for the Goal South Africa Player of the Year 2013:
Steven Pienaar (Everton, England)
Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)
Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)
Tokelo Rantie (Malmo and Bournemouth, Sweden and England)
Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)
Now, that you know the five nominees, it's time to vote for who you believe the winner should be! Yes, the winner of the accolade will be decided by you for the player who deserves to be recognised for their stellar year.
The winning player will be announced in mid-December. We will provide our readers with exciting features dedicated to each nominee, along with news stories and exclusive interviews of former top South African players tipping who they believe should win. Remember the selection will be based on their performances over the course of this year only.
Readers are encouraged to discuss who they believe the winner should be on our Goal South Africa Facebook page here, and on our Twitter page here, with the unique hash tag #GoalSouthAfricaPOTY.
Votes close on Friday afternoon, December 6. May the best man win!