There was a collective round of disbelief around the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) conference room on Friday night when Township Rollers winger, Lemponye Tshireletso was named the BTC Premiership Player Of The Season.
Tshireletso’s team mate, Simisane Mathumo was widely tipped to walk away with the gong, but the underwhelming awards produced controversial choices. While the stage was superbly set against a background of the dominant green colours of the sponsors, BTC, the occasion failed to rise above the dipping temperatures on the night.
The audience was largely subdued and the directors of ceremonies failed to tickle the crowd, and to remove further shine, a number of award recipients were absent. A night that was supposed to belong to Mathumo, ended with just a consolation Supporters’ Player Of The Season award for the Rollers defender. Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ 20-year-old defender, Thato Kebue walked away with the Young Player Of The Season, beating Gaborone United’s (GU) Thatayaone Ditlhokwe and Kesaobaka Ramotshwaedi of Green Lovers.
Antony Gouws was adjudged the Goalkeeper Of The Season after a stellar campaign with Jwaneng Galaxy, after he was nominated together with Kabelo Dambe of Rollers and GU shot stopper, Goitseone Phoko. The Players’ Player Of The Season went to Galaxy’s Thero Setsile who beat Mathumo and Security Systems midfielder, Mgcini Sibanda.
Another contentious choice saw Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote win the Coach Of The Season award, while Galaxy’s Mike Sithole was seen in some quarters as a more
Systems’ Thaloba ‘Machine’ Nthaga was the other nominee for the award after he saw his side finish inside the top eight in their debut season. Before the night concluded, there were murmurs of disapproval when Tshireletso’s name was picked for the Player Of The Season award, after a lacklustre campaign, which surprisingly handed him the biggest gong of the season.
Tshireletso scored 12 goals, but was seen trailing behind Mathumo, Gouws and even GU striker, Tumisang Orebonye who was surprisingly not amongst the nominees despite plundering an impressive 16 goals, to finish just one behind green boot winner, Terrence Mandaza.
Only Mandaza and Kebue were present to receive their awards while other players were away with the national team in South Africa. Joshua Bondo walked away with the referee of the year award, erasing bitter memories of being expelled from the COSAFA Cup tournament last week Thursday, for his poor handling of the Zimbabwe, Madagascar tie.
Moemedi Monakwana received the Best Assistant Referee award. The end of the awards marked the beginning of lengthy debates on the criteria used to pick nominees and winners.Jul