After this weekend’s Premier League matches, most teams will be left with five matches in hand. Championship contenders as well as those who are relegation bound are already starting to show. Similarly, competition for the individual prizes like player of the season and the leading goal scorer has also intensified.
Township Rollers top marksman Terrence Mandaza has already set the pace on the leading goal scorer list. With 29 goals under his belt, Mandaza is eleven goals ahead of closest rival, Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ Mweuku Musona. However most eyes will be on the much coveted player of the season award, which comes with a P50 000 prize.
The player of the season award is normally won by a player from the league champions and it is rare for an outside player to clinch it. Last year it was won by the late Joseph Phetogo of reigning champions Gaborone United. Already Township Rollers players are the leading contenders for the award. A number of factors are taken into consideration when deciding the player of the season, among them discipline, the number of matches played and the players’ overall contribution to the team in the league campaign. Players who are in contention include Mandaza, Edwin Moalosi, Kabelo Dambe and Itayi Gwandu. While players from teams like Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Uniao Flamengo Santos stand a chance, most eyes will be on the Rollers players. Centre Chiefs has outstanding players like Dirang Moloi and Sekhana Koko who can be surprise packages. For Santos, the likes of Mogakolodi Ngele and Farasai Nyamunamwendo can also make the cut.
Mandaza is the leading goal scorer in the Premier League, and he has been consistent since the season started. With 29 goals in 25 matches, Mandaza has a scoring rate of 1.16, which literally means that he scores in every league match he plays, a feat that many strikers cannot achieve.
Rollers have also scored most goals in the Premier League, largely due to Mandaza’s contribution.
He just might snatch both the player of the season and the green boot. However, Mandaza’s red hot form and scoring prowess are largely due to the services he gets from the youthful Moalosi, who lays the passes for the prolific striker, and also once in a while scores crucial goals.
Moalosi is the one who penetrates the opposition defense before laying those important passes for Mandaza to score. He might not have the physique of an all round footballer, but Moalosi is a deadly player.
Goalkeeper Dambe has been the pillar of Rollers in the last line of defense. His acrobatic skills and agility have even earned him a call up to the national team. He has the perfect height needed for a goalkeeper. Last season he was the second choice goalkeeper, but this season he has relegated the experienced Antony Matengu to the bench. Gwandu on the other hand might be the first player to win be-mobile Premier League with two different teams. He won it with GU last year and now he is looking to repeat it with Rollers. Some people are even wondering why GU let him go. Gwandu has so far commanded the Rollers defense like a true captain and it will not be surprising if he wins the prize. Before joining Rollers, the rollers defense was very weak and at times conceded silly goals.
The Zimbabwean international’s presence has really brought stability and Rollers have been impregnable for most part of the season. Moloi’s undoing might be discipline, but everybody in the soccer fraternity knows what he is capable of. Koko is also one player who is always on top of his game. Ngele and Nyamunamwendo have been marshalling Santos for most part of the season. However, parting ways with Coach Cleve Hunda might eventually cost the team.