- Mokwena comes to the defence of his player
- Outcry continues for Saleng snub for big award
- Saleng versus Mokoena in numbers
WHAT HAPPENED: After the Premier Soccer League crowned Mamelodi Sundowns' Teboho Mokoena as the Football of the Season, there was a huge outcry, with a section of supporters preferring Orlando Pirates' Monnapule Saleng.
The Pirates star won two cups this season, the Nedbank Cup and MTN8 while at the same time, he helped the Buccaneers to qualify for the Caf Champions League as Bucs finished second.
IN NUMBERS: Mokoena played 24 games in the league this season where he scored just one goal and made a single assist. In the MTN8, the former SuperSport United midfielder played three times and registered a single assist with no goal. His performance in the Nedbank Cup is less flattering as he only featured once and has nothing to show for it as Downs were knocked out in the semi-finals.
Saleng, meanwhile, played two games fewer than Mokoena in the league and finished second on the top goalscorers' list behind Peter Shalulile and Khnayisa Mayo - Saleng scored 11 goals and provided eight assists. He was the star of the MTN8 where he played three times and scored as many times to add to his five games in the Nedbank Cup and one goal in that competition paired with two assists.
WHAT WAS SAID: However, Saleng's numbers were seemingly not enough to convince the majority of the 16 PSL head coaches, who voted for the Footballer of the Season. Downs head coach Rhulani Mokwena insists that such awards are not only based on stats.
"The influence of the Footballer of the Season goes way beyond just the goals and the assists because it's an influence that has to go into a space where you look at different dynamics and you look at different matrix and measurements that are put with regards to different positions and the demands that those positions take," said Mokwena as per SABC.
"Tebza as compared to Ronwen Williams for example, you can't measure Tebza and Ronwen on the same matrix, their contributions are completely different. So, we have to understand that."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mokwena himself walked away with the Coach of the Season award, but he insists that he would not have bagged the gong if he did not have the backing of a good team.
"It just goes to validate the statement I made earlier about the 'Coach of the year' award, it's not possible if you don't have the goalkeeper of the year and it's not possible if you don't have the best defenders, you don't have the best midfielders, so, fortunately, we have an incredible group, a special group, a hard-working group and a group of players that commit themselves and are very honest in that space," the coach explained.
WHAT'S NEXT: While the results are long out as far as who is voted as the best player in the country right now, the debate is still on and the dust is yet to settle as teams go into the off-season.