Kaizer Chiefs featured heavily when the Premier Soccer League announced the nominees for the 2019-20 PSL awards. Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, defender Daniel Cardoso, midfielder Lebogang Manyama, striker Samir Nurković and former coach Ernst Middendorp are amongst those in line for various awards.
Chiefs keeper Daniel Akpeyi is one of three nominees for the goalkeeper of the season prize. He is up against Mamelodi Sundowns’ Denis Onyango and SuperSport United’s Ronwen Williams. Speaking on his nomination Akpeyi says: “Firstly I would like to thank God for giving me the strength to go through the season. I thank the entire club structures, management, goalie coach, my fellow goalkeepers and the technical team for being patient with me and helping get the best out of me. I never thought at the start of last season that I would be a nominee for such an award. My only aim was to improve my game, but I am glad things worked out. For me this is very exciting.”
Defender Daniel Cardoso has been nominated for the defender of the season award. He started and finished all 35 of Chiefs games in all competitions last season. Most importantly, he played every minute of all of Chiefs 30 league games. He was pleased to have been nominated for the award along with Rushine De Reuck of Maritzburg United and Motjeka Madisha of Mamelodi Sundowns.
“I want to thank all my teammates as I could not have had a season that I had without them,” says Cardoso. “I think I showed good consistency throughout the season. I needed to manage my game well and thankfully I did not get injured. This means a lot to me and the hard work has paid off – hopefully I can continue this season. I am up against two very good defenders, hopefully the fact that I chipped in with a few goals will help give me the edge.”
The last Chiefs outfield player to start and finish every league game was Tefu Mashamaite in 2014-15.
Another important role player in Chiefs being in the title race right up until the last day of the season in 2019-20 was Lebogang Manyama. He has been nominated for two awards, the midfielder of the season and the players player of the season. For Manyama these nominations are pleasing for him on a personal note. “I put in a lot of hard work last season and these nominations are recognition of that hard work. He says. “it was hard to lose the title on the last day, but if you work hard, your efforts will be recognized. We also work for the good of the team, so these individual awards are extra motivation for us to work harder. Overall, I am happy to be nominated for these awards.”
Manyama is up against Mamelodi Sundowns’ Themba Zwane for both awards, while in the race for the Players Player of the season they are joined by Hlompho Kekana also of Sundowns and for the midfielder of the season they have Cape Town City’s Thabo Nodada for company.
Chiefs fourth player nominated for an award is striker Samir Nurković, who goes up against Peter Shalulile who was on the books of Highlands Park last season, as well as Sundowns duo Themba Zwane and Gaston Sirino. The Serb who netted 13 league goals and contributed with 7 assists also in the league last season was elated with his nomination. “To be nominated for such an award after my first season is a good achievement and something to build on going forward,” he says. “When I came to Chiefs, I saw everything was at the highest level and as a result I was able to give my best. The fans deserved the title last season and if I can win this award it will be for them. Winning this award will make me happy, I do know that I am up against good players who performed well last season for their teams.”
Former Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has been nominated for the coach of the season where he faces competition from former Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane and Maritzburg United’s Eric Tinkler.
In addition to the four Chiefs players up for individual awards, there are a further three Chiefs players in the running for the goal of the season award. The 2019-20 PSL awards will take place in the form of a virtual ceremony on Thursday, 22 October 2020 at 20:00.