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HomeDStv PremiershipXoki Backs Saleng For The PSL Footballer Of The Season Gong

Xoki Backs Saleng For The PSL Footballer Of The Season Gong

Orlando Pirates defender Thapelo Xoki has backed Monnapule Saleng to be named Premier Soccer League Footballer of the Season.

Saleng is the club’s leading scorer with nine goals in 16 DStv Premiership matches, with the latest coming against Richards Bay at King Zwelithini Stadium last weekend.

The former Swallows winger has been outstanding for the Buccaneers this season, helping them to crush Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 semi-final second leg last year by scoring two goals in the 3-0 victory.

Saleng then led his charges again in the final, scoring a deceiving free-kick to beat Veli Mothwa of AmaZulu to claim the Wafa Wafa Cup trophy.

He is the heavy favourite to win the MTN8 Last Man Standing and has scored 13 goals in 21 matches across all competitions this season – making him also one of the contenders for the PSL Footballer of the Season.

“For us we just hope he continues that vein of form which gives him a better chance to get the nod,” said Xoki to iDiski Times.

“But we would like him to win it because he has done very well for the team, very influential, even got the call up to the national team. So he has been a great revelation to us.

“We hope he continues in that journey, help him whenever we can and push him to get more goals, more assists so that by the end of the season all sets are done and has a better chance for other candidates.”

The last player from Pirates to win the PSL Footballer of the Season was Thembinkosi Lorch in the 2018/19 season.         

Xoki was touched by the gesture shown by the Soweto giants in handing him the captain armband whenever captain Innocent Maela, who took over the armband from Happy Jele, is suspended or injured.

In fact, Xoki was named the club’s vice captain during the off season after arriving from AmaZulu, joining Pirates in a swap deal with Gabadinho Mhango, who went in the opposite direction.

He has also shown his leadership on the field when it comes to pressure cooker situations, slotting a winning penalty in the win over SuperSport United last month.

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In all, Xoki has featured in 22 appearances in all competitions, including the MTN8 final against his former club AmaZulu.     

“First of all, it is an honour and privilege to don the club jersey,” said Xoki.

“And a great honour and privilege to lead the club. The process was done during the off season, we knew who was the vice and the captain.

“So the guys had confidence in me and I was really touched by that since I was new to the team.

“But we have so many leaders and we just help each other whenever we can as a collective. But Inno has done a tremendous job for us this season and we hope he continues to lead the way.” 

Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala is iDiski Times' KwaZulu-Natal-based web journalist. Boasting extensive experience in the South African football landscape, Robin-Duke has previously worked for Kick-Off Magazine, Soccer Laduma, and Daily Sun and Sunday Sun. He specialises in breaking news and transfers around South Africa’s big clubs in KZN.