With the season nearing an end, the Footballer of the Season award is in full swing with eight players having been nominated. In the first part of this series, we looked at how the likes of Peter Shalulile, Themba Zwane, Ruzaigh Gamildien and Mduduzi Mdantsane had performed throughout the season and whether their performance warrantied winning the top accolade.
To put the cat amongst the pigeons, a further four players have yet to be evaluated and these are Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United), Fortune Makaringe (Orlando Pirates), Deon Hotto (Orlando Pirates) and lastly Augustine Mulenga (AmaZulu FC).
Bradley Grobler – Supersport United
Over the last two seasons, Grobler has been one of the most consistent attacking players in the league scoring 27 goals in 49 league appearances. In the early part of the season, he was instrumental in helping SuperSport climb the log table, however, a decline in attacking output (goals and assists) since mid-February as well as injuries has seen the team struggle for points. Despite the team misfortunes of late, the 33-year-old is still very much the leader in the Golden Boot Award through his early season form, He’s scored 13 goals as well as providing 3 assists.
Grobler is your pure out and out striker ranking amongst the most clinical in his position. He has the perfect sense for when to pull the trigger and his accuracy of hitting the target has been second to none this season. Elsewhere his game is pretty relaxed and whilst he does involve himself in the overall game, he does not rank highly amongst strikers in the league to provide creativity or opportunities to his teammates.
Fortune Makaringe – Orlando Pirates
Perhaps a surprising nomination for many, Makaringe deserved the nomination for his consistent performances for the majority of the season. He remains as only one of two players (until the recent Black Leopards game) to have featured in every DSTV Premiership game under Josef Zinnbauer this season.
Whilst he played a lot of minutes in 2020/21, Makaringe was not directly involved in many team goals although he does rank on the higher end of ‘goal contributions’ versus the average league midfielder. Amongst the reasons that he featured this heavily is his ability to play the ball in behind for players (like Hotto) to run onto and his general link-up play between the thirds of the pitch has been beneficial to Pirates going forward.
Deon Hotto – Orlando Pirates
Hotto has been on fire for the Buccaneers since joining from Bidvest Wits in the off-season. Similarly to teammate Makaringe, the Namibian international has been a key member of coach Zinnbauer’s team having featured in all league games to the start of May. Whether starting or featuring from the bench and often in times of injuries to others he has given Zinnbauer options upfront. He has filled big shoes to become the reliable go-to attacker using his pace to take on opposition defenders and his technical gifted left boot.
Examining his statistical profile among players in his position, Hotto has had a stand-out year for The Bucs. His involvements, creativity to create scoring opportunities for others, whilst also being a force to be reckoned with individually. He has proven that Pirates made a fantastic purchase from Wits just nine months ago.
Augustine Mulenga – Amazulu
When Mulenga left Orlando Pirates at the end of last season many considered that he had his best days behind him. Having stated that he had ‘unfinished business’ in the PSL, he started brightly with three assists in the first few games at AmaZulu.
Under Benni McCarthy:
A change in coach in early December saw Benni McCarthy take over and immediately the dynamic of the team changed for the better. Mulenga already proved his abilities and quality before the management change and yet stepped his game up another level and has perhaps shown Pirates how wrong they were to let him go.
In terms of his statistical output and his position, he does a lot of things very well. His assist record this season speaks for itself and shows the creativity and danger he can bring to the team through his passes behind and in between the lines. He has the ability and confidence to take on opposition defenders and get into dangerous areas before deciding to pull the trigger.