News Live Scores
Features & Opinions

COMMENT: Which midfielders were overlooked for the PSL Midfielder of the Season award?

13:11 BST 19/05/2019
Polokwane City, Jabulani Maluleke
A number of influential midfielders have delivered consistent performances this season, but some were not nominated

With the Premier Soccer League (PSL) end of the season awards set to take centre stage on Sunday night, a number of players are set to walk away with lucrative accolades for their efforts.

The leagues governing body has already announced nominees for awards but Goal takes a look at the players that were overlooked for the Midfielder of the Season award.

Although many legends and analysts have one thing in common, that this season was the tightly contested and the most interesting from a supporters' point of view, many argue that some players were left out.

Having said that regarding the level and competitiveness of the league, players such Polokwane City's Jabulani Malukeke, Nhlanhla Vilakazi of AmaZulu, Gaston Sirino and Lebohang Maboe of Mamelodi Sundowns and Fortune Makaringe of Maritzburg United have provided solid and consistent performances for their respective clubs this past term, but have been overlooked.

Jabulani Maluleke

The Polokwane City skipper has carried the club on his shoulders and a nomination would have been justified. 

The experienced midfielder has been the heart and soul of coach Jozef Vukusic’s men for the past two seasons and his consistency has been a standout feature.

‘Mavocha’ has featured in 28 PSL games, missing only two, and has revived his integrity as one of the best midfielders in the top flight as he amassed four goals coupled with nine assists.

With Rise and Shine having finished in the top five for the first time in their history, the Polokwane-based club will credit the coach, but the 37-year-old’s contribution remains unmatched and deserves to be applauded.

With his eye for goal from set pieces, his accurate passing ability, and the skill and leadership he provides in the heart of the park has gone a long way toward boosting City's reputation.

Lebohang Maboe

The Ratanda-born midfielder has been one of the key players for the Brazilians as they managed to retain their PSL crown.

Maboe shocked many when he completed his move to the Tshwane giants at the beginning of the season, but he proved his critics wrong as he earned a regular spot in a star-studded squad.

Fresh from leading Maritzburg United to their first Nedbank Cup final last season, Maboe's move to Sundowns led many to suggest he would not reach his potential, but he easily adjusted at Sundowns.

Looking at his statistics, the 24-year-old played in 27 games for the champions and netted eight goals. 

Joining a club like Sundowns and coming from a so-called small team like the Team of Choice, Maboe managed to defy the odds and represented the club exceptionally in many competitions including his debut in the Caf Champions League.

Nhlanhla Vilakazi

Although AmaZulu were docked points at the beginning of the season due to off the field issues, they looked like they were going to spend their season fighting to evade the relegation axe.

However, thanks to the dreadlocked and experienced skipper, Usuthu managed to bounce back and credit must go to the playmaker.

They had their ups and downs just like any club in the top-flight where they struggled to remain consistent, but Vilakazi is one of the players that shone brightest.

At 33, Vilakazi played in all but three of their PSL games, and with his vision, passing and ability to read the game, he was the man to call upon when it comes to launching their attacks and neutralising the opponent.

But having provided just one assist might not have been enough to impress the judges and earn a spot in the list of nominees.

Fortune Makaringe

After losing key players such as Maboe, Bevan Fransman and failing to replicate the form that led them to the Ke Yona Cup final the season before, Makaringe continued where he left off.

Despite his team's failure to move away from the relegation zone, the 26-year-old was the go-to man for the Team of Choice.

He provided nine assists and scored four crucial goals for the club out of 27 PSL games as they finished their challenging season in the 15th spot to qualify for the playoffs.

Although they are still fighting to remain in the elite division, Makaringe was a notable campaigner for the coach Eric Tinkler’s side.

His relentless attitude has also sparked reports that he is on his way to Orlando Pirates to team up with former coach Fadlu Davids, but that has not distracted his commitment to the club as he played a remarkable role for the club.

Gaston Sirino 

The man who arrived at Sundowns and immediately made his impact felt.

Sirino has mesmerised the PSL stage with some dazzling skills and bravery to take on opponents.

The Uruguayan has provided options for coach Pitso Mosimane upfront and managed to score vital goals and produced plenty of assists.

Although he has proved to be a fiery figure at times., the Uruguayan did his talking with the ball at his feet and produced stellar performances for the champions.

Sirino produced five goals and chipped in with seven assists out of 23 league games and his contribution raises questions on why he was overlooked.