By FOCUS REPORTER
TWO of the main protagonists in the race for the Absa Premiership title,Thulani Serero of Ajax Cape Town and Ian Gorowa of Mamelodi Sundowns, have been lauded for their impressive performances during the months of March and April.
The industrious Serero, who has delivered several sterling man-of-the-match performances for the Urban Warriors this season, has been voted the Absa Premiership Player of the Month for the March/ April period.
Sundowns Zimbabwean coach Gorowa, on the other hand, has orchestrated the Brazilians’ recent remarkable revival and has led the Pretoria side to within reach of the Absa Premiership trophy. As a result, he was unanimously voted Absa Premiership Coach of the Month for the same period.
Both Serero and Gorowa walked away with R10 000 each, courtesy of Absa Card, and 4 “Absa Dreambags” filled with football equipment, which they can donate to a school of their choice.
Serero has been in dazzling form and has been instrumental in helping the Cape Town outfit go to the summit of the Absa Premiership table. His impressive goal-scoring rate for the Urban Warriors has also seen the young striker-cum-midfielder break into the national team. One of the members of the judging panel went as far as to label Serero as “South Africa’s own version of Lionel Messi”.
“Some may see this as an exaggeration, but that’s just the indication of the individual flair and skill of this 21-year old player. He was particularly impressive in Ajax’s 3-0 win against Orlando Pirates and the dramatic 4-4 away draw to Sundowns,” commented the judge.
Although Serero eventually received the most votes from the judging panel, Mamelodi Sundowns marksman Katlego Mphela was also praised for his exploits in front of goal for the rejuvenated Brazilians.
During the voting period, the Sundowns talisman found the back of the net four times, including the equaliser that earned the Brazilians a share of the spoils in the dramatic 4-4 draw against Ajax.
“His goals have all been decisive, either securing a draw or sealing a win. Other strikers may have scored hat-tricks during the same period, but Mphela’s goals have made a huge difference for his side. He has almost single-handedly ensured that Sundowns stay in the Absa Premiership race”, said one of the judges.
Oupa Manyisa of Orlando Pirates received the third highest number of votes for his impressive work rate with the Buccaneers while Kaizer Chiefs skipper Jimmy Tau and Bloemfontein Celtic defender Eric Matoho also received notable mentions.
There was much deliberation to determine the Absa Premiership Coach of the Month.
Although Gorowa eventually took the spoils, he was run close by Foppe de Haan, the Absa Premiership Coach of the Month for the February voting period. The Zimbabwean mentor however, received the highest number of votes for sparking Sundowns’ recent revival and for leading the Brazilians through an impressive unbeaten run, which included the memorable draw with Ajax.
“Gorowa has arrested his team’s downward spiral and now the Brazilians seem to have hit top gear again. During the voting period, Sundowns picked up three wins and a draw and they look much more purposeful these days” said one of the judging panel members.
Gorowa also received plaudits for improving his side’s goal scoring tally. During the voting period Sundowns scored 10 goals in the four games they played as they remain unbeaten in the league fixture.
De Haan was once again praised for his sterling work at Ajax. Despite having a relatively young squad, the Dutchman has been able to galvanise his troops and the Cape team remain hot favourites to lift the coveted Absa Premiership trophy. The only blemish for De Haan was when the Urban Warriors lost to Bidvest Wits in March. But the Urban Warriors have since gone on an impressive run and are still among the best accumulators of league points in the Absa Premiership.
Clinton Larsen of Bloemfontein Celtic was also in the running for engineering Phunya Sele Sele’s run to 5th position on the Absa Premiership log.
Happy Ntshingila, Absa Chief Marketing and Communication Manager, congratulated all the winners.
“This is clearly becoming one of the most memorable finishes to an Absa Premiership season. The winners had to show huge courage, sometimes under immense pressure. Nevertheless they came up with some great performances and I am sure we will see similar displays as the season comes to a climax. Well done to all.”
Premier Soccer League CEO, Kjetil Siem, also added his congratulations
“It’s been an absolute marvel to watch our top players and coaches perform at such high levels despite the intensity of the season. Credit must go to them for improving the standard of football all the time.”