Mooki is fairest of them all

Kaizer Chiefs midfield maestro Thabo ‘Tsiki Tsiki’ Mooki was honoured as the Amakhosi player of the year at the club’s annual players’ awards in Sandton on Sunday.

Mooki, highly rated by his coach Muhsin Ertugral, gave Chiefs a 1-0 win against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates in their final league match on Saturday as he made a welcome return from injury.

The shy, soft-spoken star dedicated his award, which carries R50 000 in prize money, to former Chiefs greats like Nelson “Teenage” Dladla, present at the ceremony and Pule “Ace” Ntsoelengoe.

Mooki also acknowledged the contribution made by players like captain Doctor Khumalo, Bafana and Leeds United skipper Lucas Radebe, assistant coaches Steve Khompela and Donald “Ace” Khuse.

“It would have never been possible for me to win this award had it not been for the role they played in my career. A special thanks to my coach who has also shown such great confidence in me,” said an elated Mooki.

Mooki also ran away with two trophies for the player of the month in November and December.

Former Chiefs player of the year Siyabonga Nomvete, who also holds the previous PSL player and players’ player of the year awards for a glorious season in 1999/2000, received a special tribute award in recognition of his passion, determination and loyalty to Amakhosi. He also received the July player of the month.

All Amakhosi players were awarded Appreciation Awards for the role they played in helping the club to a second-place finish in the league. There was no player of the month in September as Amakhosi were not active in that period to accommodate the Sydney Olympics.

Amakhosi chairman Kaizer Motaung also took the opportunity to wish Nomvete well as he sets out to pursue his career in Italy with Serie A side Udinese.

It was also a farewell to Kaizer Motaung Junior – honoured as the rising star in recognition of his talent and potential – who will be campaigning in the German Bundesliga with TSV 1860 Munich.

Captain Khumalo, who started playing for Chiefs at age 14, received the leadership award “in appreciation of his leadership, vision and his professional captaincy over the years”.

Malawian captain and defender Patrick Mabedi, player of the month in April, was voted most improved player of the season.

Coach Ertugral paid tribute to the players and encouraged those who did not receive special awards to buckle up in preparation for the next season.

“The night belonged to my players,” he said after the ceremony. “They really deserved it and I am very impressed with our performance this season. The results were not good enough but we have made progress in our playing standards. Next season will be even better.”

All the player of the month awards:

July 2000 – Siyabonga Nomvete

August 2000 – Robert Nauseb

October 2000 – Brian Baloyi

November/December – Thabo Mooki

January 2001 – Lifa Gqosha

February – Cyril Nzama

March – Tony Illodigwe

April – Patrick Mabedi

May – Arthur Zwane

Sponsors Awards:

Vodacom Yebo Yes Award – Marco Mthembu

Nike Just Do It Award – Brian Baloyi

Ericsson Make yourself heard Award – Putco Mafani

Nestle Graduate/Educational Award – Thabiso Malatsi

Acer Players’ Player Award – Cyril Nzama

Damat & Tween Best dressed Award – Doctor Khumalo

Energade It’s what you put in Award – Gary Goldstone

Loyalty Award: Cecil Motaung

Amakhosi 4 Life Awards: Johannesburg Central and Thembisa supporters’ branches

Special tribute Awards: Emy Casaletti-Page and Vivian Casaletti.