With 2009 about to come to a close, Goal.com takes a look at the players who stood out for their respective clubs in the South African Premier Soccer League.
Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Katlego Mphela had an extremely disappointing 2008/09 league season by his standards. Joining Sundowns from SuperSport United at the start of the season, Mphela was hoping to make a big impact but he failed miserably in his attempts. In his 18 league appearances, starting 13 games and running on as a substitute in five, he only managed to net three goals.
His shooting was often woeful and he did not impress with his work-rate. In his second season Killer has been a marvel to watch and a nightmare for every goal keeper, including Spanish number one Iker Casillas. The lethal Mphela’s stunning scorcher that beat the Spanish keeper in the Confederations Cup was also nominated for the FIFA Goal of the Year. The Kaizer Chiefs coach Vladmir Vermezovic refered to “Killer” as “European Material” as he tore apart Amakhosi with a brace. He has been in scintilating form this season, and the second half of 2009 has earned him a spot in this list.
Former Clubs: Jomo Cosmos, SuperSport United.
Daine Klate (SuperSport United)
Supersport United are enroute to retaining their ABSA Premiership Title, and a big thanks must go to the lanky midfielder’s outstanding displays. Often considered by other clubs in the domestic league, Klate is still at SuperSport United. He is arguably one of the best free-kick takers in South Africa. Based on his many qualities it comes as a bit of a surprise that the 24-year-old Klate is not a Bafana regular. The left winger is fast, tricky and he has a powerful shot as well. He represented South Africa at the Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 levels and various clubs from Europe are known to follow his progress with interest.
Klate has been on the score sheet 9 already this season, making him one of the contenders for the top scorer award. He is surely one of the leading candidates for PSL Player Of The Year for this season as a result of the tremendous consistency that he has show by displaying a five star performance in virtually every game.
Former clubs: School of Excellence.
Prince Olomu (Bloemfontein Celtic)
Attacking midfielder Prince Olomu’s move from derby rivals Free State Stars to Bloemfontein Celtic was met with sour grapes as it is a norm when a player moves to their bitter rivals. The strong Nigerian has brought much needed steel and character to the Phunya Sele Sele side, who struggled against the threat of relegation all of last season.
The former Enyimba and El-Kanemi Warriors player has won over the Celtic supporters with his outstanding work rate and eye for goal. He has already scored 10 goals in this shortened season. Definitely another contender for the top scorers’ award.
Former clubs: El-Kameni Warriors, Enyimba International (both Nigeria), Free State Stars.
Glen Salmon (SuperSport United)
Many skeptics still doubt Salmon’s ability as a top striker in the country, all because of the number of goals he has scored. Salmon has only scored 5 goals thus far in the current season, but his best quality is the way that he holds the ball and creates opportunities for those around him. His incredible work rate has earned him the ABSA Player Of The Month for November.
Salmon returned to SuperSport in mid-2008 after having left the club nearly ten years earlier to join Dutch outfit NAC Breda. Very strong in the air, it is a shame that a striker of his stature has only played three times for Bafana. He has proved to be an excellent signing and played a major part in SuperSport winning their second Absa Premiership title in a row and he now seems to be leading them to a treble.
Former clubs: SuperSport United, NAC Breda, FC Groningen, NAC Breda (all Netherlands), PAOK Salonika (Greece).
Erwin Isaacs (Santos)
“Apples” as Isaacs is popularly known has been instrumental in Santos’ title chase. His pace and skill has brought back the Kaapse Dans Spirit of football that will remind one of the Samba style in Brazil. His 6 goals has seen big Gauteng teams scrambling for the blonde haired marksman.
The brilliant attacking midfielder also plays up front at times, and on his day Isaacs is one of the best players in the country. He could still make a late charge for the World Cup squad if he plays regularly and lives up to the potential that he has shown in past seasons. A really exciting player that Santos rely heavily on to break down defences and create goals.
Former clubs: Milano juniors, FC Fortune juniors, Mitchell’s Plain United.
Morgan Gould (SuperSport United)
Last season it was Lucas Thwala, and this season the goal scoring defender is the bald headed Bafana stalwart who has scored 6 goals in the current campaign, which is a goal more than Kaizer Chiefs leading target man Nkosinathi Nhleko.
Gould has been the backbone of the Pretoria based outfit's defence and has seen Gavin Hunt’s charges concede much less than their rivals. The tough tackling Noordgesig-born defender has already represented South Africa at the Under-23 level and is also part of the Bafana setup. An in form Gould could help Matsatsantsa win the league title again.
Former clubs: Jomo Cosmo.
Matome Calvin Kadi (Bidvest Wits)
After struggling to settle in at SuperSport United, Calvin Kadi made a move to BidVest Wits during the middle of the 2008/09 season. Since joining the Students, the speedy striker made an immediate impact, scoring 10 PSL goals for the Clever Boys. In 2009/10 Kadi has been the answer Wits have been looking for up front. He is clinical in front of goal and hardly ever squanders a decent goal scoring opportunity.
Former clubs: University of Pretoria juniors, Jomo Cosmos.
Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs)
The former Jomo Cosmos player has proved that he is the reliable player that Chiefs have been looking for after the loss of Siyabonga Nkosi. He stands firm playing in his preferred central midfield position. His strength, though, remains his ability to open up defences with his shrewed passing to pick out team mates.
He was recently selected in the Bafana Bafana squad after some brilliant displays for his club that saw him score very important goals. He dictates play in the Amakhosi midfield together with Tinashe Nengomasha and Josta Dladla. “Yeye” is definitely a candidate for the Kaizer Chiefs Player of the Year.
Former clubs: Jomo Cosmos juniors, PJ Stars, Premier-Hellenic, Dangerous Darkies, PJ Stars, Jomo Cosmos.
Franklin Cale (Ajax Cape Town)
Had a great first half of the season helping Ajax to top spot in the Premiership at one stage. Cale’s form earned him a national team call ups after he lead the Urban Warriors to the MTN 8 Cup Final which they lost to Golden Arrows.
His stunning and exciting brand of play has seen Mamelodi Sundowns ready to break the bank for his signature. Also former Ajax coach Mushin Ertugal is rumoured to be winding his fishing rod for Cale from Turkish giants Sivasspor. His deadly left foot is arguably one of the best free kick hammers which leave goalkeepers hanging in thin air with Cale celebrating his goal like Jay Jay Okocha, somersaulting for joy.
Former clubs: FC Fortune juniors, Ajax Cape Town juniors, Steenberg United.
Musa Bilankulu (Golden Arrows)
The young defender has come on well for Golden Arrows in recent years. Bilankulu is a reliable option whenever called upon by coach Manqoba Mngqithi, able to fill in a couple of positions on the back line, and his versatility has been of high value in the congested 2009/10 season.
After the loss of skipper and midfield engine room Kagiso Dikgacoi to Fulham Bilankulu has made himself a force to be reckoned with, it will not come as a surprise when one of the big giants snatch him in the near future. He may even be pushed further up field now that Kagisho Dikgacoi has transferred away from the club.
Former clubs: Durban Stars.
Clyde Tlou Goal.com