Following up on the popular Absa Premiership Man of the Match medal awarded to the Player of the Match after every league game, Absa has now gone a step further by instituting the Player of the Month award.
“Under normal circumstances it would be difficult to judge an award of this nature, and now developments in the league title race which has had a significant impact on the performance of the players, made it even more challenging when we sat down to deliberate the April winner for the Absa Premiership Player of the Month Awards,” commented Eddie Lewis, the convenor of the judging panel and former Manchester United player and coach of Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows and Wits University.
Lewis disclosed that Mamelodi Sundowns made for serious contenders, with four players including Jorge Acuna, Brian Baloyi, Lerato Chabangu and Josta Dladla all making the initial short list of 11 players considered for the monthly honours. “The other players to secure a spot in the initial shortlist were Moses Spandeel (Bloemfontein Celtic), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Enoh Eyong (Ajax Cape Town), Abia Nale (Golden Arrows), Tshepo Ramokala and Stanley Kgatla both from Platinum Stars and Andre Arendse (Supersport United).
“Having watched and attended as many games as possible, the judging panel made up of nine reputable members of the media, former players and a coach, met for the final time at the PSL offices on Tuesday where they engaged in healthy debate.
“There were tight calls on certain players, and eventually the initial shortlist of 11 was whittled down to the three strongest contenders for the month of April, which included Itumeleng Khune, Abia Nale and Tshepo Ramokala,” Lewis added.
“We certainly had to put a lot of thought into the finalists and considered a number of factors before deciding on the April winner.”
The judges decided that Nale, who is possibly one of the most underrated support strikers, showed what he is really made of during Golden Arrows’ good run of form in April and consistently demonstrated his influential role in their victories.
On the 5th of April, when Arrows played Bloemfontein Celtic at King Zwelithini Stadium, Nale had an outstanding day and scored one of the goals which lead to their 3-0 victory.
A week later, he again scored a brace in the 3-1 win against neighbours Thanda Royal Zulu and in which he was rewarded with the Man of the Match Award. He then followed this up with a solid performance in a tightly- contested 0-0 draw with Jomo Cosmos.
‘Three goals in four matches, and this operating as a shadow striker for the Mozambican Pequenino, shows why Nale is Arrows’ leading marksman with seven goals to his credit, and a deserving recipient of the Absa Premiership Player of the Month Award for April,” said Lewis.