With just 29 games under our belts since the start of the 2010/11 Absa Premiership Season, the players in the 16 league teams are already creating much excitement and leaving an indelible impression on the judging panel of the Absa Premiership Player of the Month Awards.
Absa introduced the Player and Coach of the Month Awards two seasons ago and have watched it grow in stature. This season, Absa only thought it fair to carry on the development of this award by adding new exciting prizes and a CSI partnership.
This season will see Absa continue with the winner of the Absa Premiership Player of the Month collecting R10 000, which will come in the form of a Pre-Paid Debit Card and a new Absa Premiership Player of the Month Trophy for their efforts. The winner of the Absa Premiership Coach of the Month will not only walk away with the new trophy but will also receive a R10 000 gift card compliments of Absa.
The Absa Premiership Man of the Match award has also been elevated in status with the selected star player from each match to collect a Pre-Paid Debit Card worth R1000, totaling more than R100 000 in Man of the Match prizes for the season.
Absa have also partnered up with Dreamfields in an effort to help develop the beautiful game in South Africa and give every child an opportunity to shine. The winning player and coach will get a chance to donate four “DreamBags” to the same number of primary schools of their choice. These “DreamBags” consist of everything that is needed to play a full 90minutes of football, consist of the following:
· 14 x Kits (i.e. shorts, shirts and socks)
· 1 x Goalkeeper Kit (i.e. shorts, shirt and socks)
· 15 x Boots
· 1 x Coach’s jersey
· 2 x balls
· Training tools (cones, etc)
A selected panel of judges has been keeping a watchful eye over proceedings in the Absa Premiership for the months of August and September. The panel, made up of five reputable members of the media met at the PSL offices at the end of last month, this first judging session of the season turned out to be one of the most exciting. With a heated but healthy debate taking up most of the hour on who would walk away with the Absa Premiership Player of the Month award, they eventually agreed to disagree and selected a winner in each category.
Happy Ntshingila, Absa Chief Marketing & Communication Officer was pleased by the number of good quality candidates that emerged for the awards for both Player of the Month and Coach of the Month: “Absa’s objective in hosting the monthly Absa Premiership Player and Coach of the Month Awards has always been to motivate the players and the coaches to continue performing at their best throughout the season. I have seen this initiative grow in leaps and bounds and am pleased to announce the partnership with DreamFields. We are very excited about this CSI project, to Absa this sponsorship is not only about our top players but about developing South African football and finding all our new rising stars.”
From a list of nominees, these were the top three in each category: two Mamelodi Sundowns players, Matthew Pattison and Calvin Marlin plus Russel Mlotshwa from Golden Arrows took the top three spots in the Player of the Month stakes, while Foppe de Haan, Antonio Lopez Habas and Zoran Fillipovic were the managers to secure a spot on the Coach of the Month shortlist.
In the Absa Premiership Coach of the Month stakes, this is what the judges had to say about the three shortlisted nominees
De Haan, they believed has faith in his young players and is bringing out the best in them. Ajax are playing good football at the moment and are back to their winning ways. One judge was quoted as saying that de Haan’s ability to read the game and allow his players to play free flowing football is the key to their 100% wins.
Golden Arrows’ new coach Fillipovic, has added his own style to the team. With three wins and one loss, it’s not a bad way to start your debut in a league where everyone is fighting for the title. He has also shown that he is an astute coach coming back from a poor start to the season.
It was an outright win for Habas, who walks away with the title of Absa Premiership Coach of the Month, receiving the number one spot from all the judges. It was noted that with four successive wins and the kind of football that Sundown’s are playing – that Habas seems to have been the brains behind the team last year while under Hristo Stoichov. He has also proven to be a master tactician making the right changes at the right time. The Spaniard seems to have a firm grip on his squad of talented players.
Deciding the Absa Premiership Player of the Month was not so easy. One judge was noted as saying that he found it necessary to award Marlin a special mention. He felt that goalkeepers don’t get the recognition they should and if it was were for Marlin’s great skill between the posts, Sundowns may not have won against SuperSport United. But at the end the big debate was between Mlotshwa and Pattison.
This is Mlotshwa’s debut season and is already making his mark. Leading the goal scoring table this youngster has already scored a brace against Vasco da Gama and one against Maritzburg United. If he maintains this kind of performance he surely will be the one to watch.
But after much discussion and debate, it was decided The Absa Premiership Player of the Month would go to Pattison. It was his consistently good play and pulling strings from midfield this season that gave him the edge. He has not missed a minute of play in all four games and is always around to pick up loose balls. His marking in the middle of the park is superior to many other players making him invaluable to the team
“These monthly awards continue to generate excitement month in and month out,” said PSL CEO, Kjetil Siem.
“And with an added development contribution from Absa and Dreamfields, players have more to play for and also know that if they do well and exceed, it’s only for them but for 15 other kids as well.”