The nominations for Mascom Top 8 individual honours have been released. As would have been expected, champions Gaborone United dominates the awards’ nominees list, followed closely by runners up Township Rollers. Both the two teams are represented in all nominated categories of player of the tournament, goalkeeper of the tournament and coach of the tournament, while the other category, of top goalscorer will go to GU’s goal poacher Benson Shilongo.
While the list of nominees provides for a riveting finale to the tournament, all eyes will however be on the prestigious Player of the tournament award. The award, which promises to be the most hotly contested of all categories, will pit together three of the tournament’s best performing players against each other. Leading the nomination for the award is GU’s youthful goalkeeper Goitseone Phoko. While football is a team sport, Phoko’s name will always be synonymous with GU’s Mascom top 8 conquest. Also nominated for the Goalkeeper of the tournament award, Phoko had a spectacular tournament between the goalposts and he was nominated man of the match a couple of times during the tournament. In the last three games of the tournament, the youngster garnered two man of the match accolades, with the only one that eluded him going to his fellow teammate Alphonse Modisaotsile, though many felt Phoko was robbed of the award after keeping the marauding Nico United strikers at bay.
Another contender for the award is Phoko’s teammate Modisaotsile. Deployed as a defensive midfielder, the diminutive player was a crucial cog in GU’s march toward the Mascom Top 8 crown. While players of his caliber are more often overlooked for the flair players, his value to GU was even more profound in his team’s last two games. Tasked with doing the dirty work of protecting his team’s defense, Modisaotsile’s importance was more profound against the marauding Nico United in the second leg of the two teams’ semifinal encounter. His diligence in front of the defense during the encounter earned him a man of the match accolade in the process. He took his form against Nico into the final against city rivals Township Rollers where he kept Rollers’ Segolame Boy quiet.
Sandwiched between the two Gaborone United players in the race for the Mascom Top 8 player of the tournament award is Boy. A gifted midfielder with an educated left foot, Boy has been a revelation for Rollers since joining from Miscellaneous at the start of the season. As with his fellow contenders, ‘Smah,’ as Boy is affectionately called put in some stellar man of the match performances to ensure his team reached the finals.
In the goalkeeper of the tournament award, player of the tournament nominee will face off against Rollers’ Noah Maposa and Nico United’s Edwin Mokibe. The coach of the tournament award will see GU’s winning Coach Rahman Gumbo come up against former Rollers coach Madinda Ndlovu as well as BDF XI’s Letang Kgengwenyane. The winners in both awards will walk away with a P25 000 pay cheque. For his best goal tally of five goals in the tournament, Yellow Boot winner, GU’s Shilongo will walk away with P30 000.