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Young Player Of The Season Criteria Revealed

With the DStv Premiership season edging closer to it’s conclusion there has been much debate over the Young Player Of The Season award, but there has been a major misconception over which players qualify for the award.

The 2023/24 DStv Premiership has been set alight by youngsters who have been doing wonders and fired up the league with good performances throughout the campaign.

Following a feature by iDiski Times this week on candidates for the Young Player of the Season, this publication has learnt that there has been confusion around the criteria for the award, with many believing players aged 23 or younger at the beginning of the season qualify, when it is in fact player aged 21 or younger.

This means players such as Devin Titus, Oswin Appollis and Jayden Adams, who were all born in 2001 are not eligible for the award. The DStv Premiership Young Player Of The Season award can only be awarded to a 21-year-old or younger than that, a source close to the PSL told this publication.

Last season, Mamelodi Sundowns striker Cassius Mailula won it after scoring nine goals and netting three assists. Mailula was 21-year-old when the 2022/23 season started.

Where does the confusion come from?

An article from the PSL’s own site website from three years ago says, “The award which was previously known as the Red Hot Young Player of the Season is given to the most outstanding player under the age of 23 and the winner receives a trophy and prize money of R50 000”. However, after the debates this week, iDiski Times has been reliably informed that that statement is incorrect or outdated.

This publication found out that the new criteria state: “The player must be under the age of 21 years old on 1 January in the year that the DStv Premiership season commences“, meaning candidates must be U21 and younger. Those eligible for this year’s award must be born in 2002 or later.

Potential candidates

So that means the five young stars from our feature who could be considered are Relebohile Mofokeng, Shandre Campbell, Ime Okon, Kamogelo Sebelebele and Jaedin Rhodes.

Mofokeng’s chances to win the award have grown significantly because of the change in rules and because the Orlando Pirates winger provided two assists in their win over Cape Town City mid-week to take his league goal contributions to eight, three goals and two assists.

SuperSport United’s Campbell has also taken the league by storm, helping Matsatsantsa with two goals and four assists in his 17 appearances in his debut season. He is eligible for the nomination but has somewhat slowed down in the second half of the campaign.

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Favourites who are now considered “too old”

Stellenbosch FC’s Devin Titus had been one of the main favourites for the award, with Stellies coach Steve Barker being a strong advocate for his player to lift the accolade. Titus has scored seven goals and produced three assists so far, but he was born in 2001, which makes him ineligible for the award.

Titus’ teammate Jayden Adams also had a good season, which saw him getting a Bafana Bafana call-up and he went on to represent the nation in the AFCON. With six, the 22-year-old has the highest number of assists this campaign, while also scoring three goals. He had also been seen as a strong contender for the award but because he was born in 2001, he is also ineligible for the Young Player Of The Season award.

Another player, who many thought was in the running for the award, was Polokwane City winger Oswin Appollis. He has carried Rise and Shine throughout the season with eight goals and three assists, earning a call-up to Hugo Broos’ AFCON squad as well. But because he too was born in 2001 he is also ineligible for the award.

Players like Titus, Adams and Appollis could still win any of the other PSL awards categories.

Story by Sinethemba Makonco (@Makonco_M).

Sinethemba Makonco
Sinethemba Makonco
Sinethemba Makonco is one of South Africa's brightest up-and-coming football journalists. Makonco shot to prominence on social media as a reliable source for South African football news and transfer stories, and is currently working as a junior journalist at iDiski Times.