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HomeDStv PremiershipRulani Picks His Player Of The Season Favourite

Rulani Picks His Player Of The Season Favourite

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena says he believes Ronwen Williams has been “head and shoulders” above anyone else this campaign when it comes to the Player of the Season debate.

With only six official DStv Premiership rounds left, even though Sundowns still have two catch-up games, the Player of the Season debate has started – and there is also a special feature on the topic in this week’s iDiski Times newspaper.

Mokwena was asked his opinion after the 2-1 win over Sekhukhune and made his case for Williams, arguing he has “revolutionalised” South African goalkeeping, while giving special mention to Patrick Maswanganyi, even though he insisted the Orlando Pirates winger has mostly picked up his performances towards the latter half of the season.

“I think there’s been an unorthodox frontrunner and that’s Ronwen Williams,” he told journalists.

“It’s unorthodox because we normally don’t consider goalkeepers to receive such awards, normally. I’m talking by football culture, worldwide – that’s why they started creating individual awards like the Golden Glove for the goalkeeper.

“Really, it’s an award that very seldom goes to the goalkeeper, but when I look at Ronwen’s contribution this season to Sundowns, not just only as a goalkeeper but also on infield play, in possession in the way he tries to do things, I think he’s been head and shoulders, and from a level of consistency, he’s been head and shoulders above the rest.

Bienvenu Eva Nga of Chippa United challenges Ronwen Williams of Mamelodi Sundowns during DStv Premiership 2023/24 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Chippa United at Lucas Moripe Stadiumon the 09 March 2024 © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

“But there has been some very good individual performances, periodically. Like for example a player like Patrick Maswanganyi deserves special mention because I’ve been watching. He’s picking up towards the end of the season and you know how the mind works, it’s picking up recent.

“Then of course he deserves mention and people will speak about and I agree, at the moment he is playing very, very well and he has a great contribution to that.”

Mokwena also mentioned some other names, going through some of the positions, while also praising Stellenbosch FC Ismael Toure, Iqraam Rayners and Devin Titus as well as TS Galaxy’s Lehlohonolo Mojela.

“I think Teboho Mokoena has been good once again. He’s been at a very good level. He’s had patches where he’s been up and down, up and down,” he continued.

“I think Mosa Lebusa has been excellent, that is been my opinion. Mosa has been hindered by injuries but Mosa has had an incredible season.

“Then, of course, I think some of the players that went to Bafana, even before they went to AFCON, they were excellent. I think Aubrey Modiba has been excellent just before AFCON and there’s been of course a dip, and in the last few games there has been an increase…

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“I think Sailor Mudau, beginning of the season was phenomenal, and then of course after AFCON, with fatigue, with games, also emotional fatigue because you must understand what it means to be in the semi-final and being so close to winning the trophy, and then to get that disappointment, having invested so much and the feeling that you can get there.

“I think there’s been some good, even at Stellenbosch there has been some very good performances – I think Toure at the back has been very good in the games that I’ve watched. Rayners has been good in the games that I’ve watched, I think Titus has been very good for them – his speed, his aggression, his ability to get behind the line.

“And that’s what I think, those are the type of players… And of course there’ll be a player at TS Galaxy, Mojela has had some very good moments this season and he’s done also very well to help them team to where it is and he deserves special mention.

“Like I said, fortunately I’m not a judge. I don’t have to make that decision and if I were to make that decision I’d be very biased and it would go to a Sundowns player, no doubt about that.

“I think what Ronwen has done this season will shape South African goalkeeping culture for many, many, many years. I think what we’ll start to see is teams will start recruiting goalkeepers because they can play with their feet and assist in the build-up – more than looking at a goalkeeper because he can stop shots.

“And this thing is already happening worldwide. The number one requirement is ‘can you give us 11 players in possession’.”

David Kappel
David Kappel
David Kappel has served as a renowned international editor and content manager for almost a decade. David specialises in ensuring content and social media posts are highly engaging for football fans and was previously the international editor at Soccer Laduma. He is currently the iDiski Times website editor and social strategist.