Kekana, Lorch or Zwane - who deserves the 2018/19 PSL Midfielder of the Season award?

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Midfielders hardly get the recognition they deserve as eyes are always on those who score goals. Will it be the case with this year's PSL awards?

The Premier Soccer League earlier this week announced the nominees for the Midfielder of the Season award. 

Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana, his teammate Themba Zwane and Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates all made the cut in the category. 

The trio didn't play the same number of matches, while only two - Kekana and Zwane - helped Sundowns win the league title, beating Lorch's Pirates to the coveted trophy. 

But which of the three players deserves the Midfielder of the Season award? 


Hlompho Kekana


Hlompho Kekana, Sundowns & Sanele Mathenjwa, Golden Arrows, May 2019

Hlompho Kekana was one of the top performers for the Brazilians this season, and he is certainly one of the best midfielders in the country. 

He was nominated in many categories in previous years but he hasn't been fortunate enough but with all his contribution this season, Kekana would surely receive the backing of many across the country.   

Having featured in 29 league games for Masandawana, Kekana found the back of the net four times. This despite being a defensive midfielder.

What makes Kekana a special player is that he can score goals and track back to assist in defence. 

He makes the job of his teammates easier by always being there to protect the back four with his no-nonsense defensive ability and there's no doubt that he will give the other two players a good run for their money in this category.    


Themba Zwane


Themba Zwane, Sundowns & Teboho Mokoena, SuperSport United, April 2019

Zwane enjoyed his best football this season, and there's no doubt that Sundowns are where they are today because of his contribution. 

He scored some crucial goals despite often playing as a winger. He definitely should have scored more than just four league goals given the number of chances he got throughout the season. 

However, what justified his inclusion was the fact that he was always willing to create goalscoring chances for his teammates. 

His first touch is out of this world, and it's no surprise that Teko Modise hailed him as the best South African player after Doctor Khumalo.


Thembinkosi Lorch


Thembinkosi Lorch, Orlando Pirates, May 2019

The Orlando Pirates attacking midfielder had an incredible season under Micho Sredojevic, and he deserves all the praise coming his way. 

Lorch, who has been playing in the elite league for four seasons now, finds himself on nine goals from 26 league games.  

Quiet on the pitch, Lorch let his feet do the talking, and it's unfortunate that Pirates finished the season empty-handed despite all the hard work. 

Lorch is a winger by trade, but it was at No.10 where he really flourished for the Sea Robbers, and he was often mistaken for a striker as he showed no signs of slowing down. 


VERDICT: Kekana deserves the award


Hlompho Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns

Zwane and Lorch may have done well for themselves throughout the campaign with all the numbers on the side, but Kekana was too hot to handle. 

He kept Sundowns going in what was one of their most difficult seasons, including scoring a few important goals when fatigue began to creep in toward the end of the season. 

Kekana missed a single game through suspension, but given his role in the Sundowns team and how tough he is as he doesn't easily pull out of challenges, one would have expected him to pick up a red card. 

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However, he only picked up five yellow cards, which is not bad for a defensive midfielder, and lifting his teammates' spirits as captain is one of the most attributes a player can have whilst also performing to the best of their ability whenever they are given the opportunity. 

For those reasons, Kekana, 33, deserves to win the award. Perhaps, as an honour and recognition for a player of his age to be running up and down, defending with aplomb and scoring important goals for the club. 

Kekana could have easily been replaced by the likes of Oupa Manyisa and Andile Jali among others if he was not performing, but he showed more determination and hunger, and it's only fair to give him the award.       

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