McCarthy, Shalulile and Xoki claim DStv Premiership individual monthly awards for January/February

Benni McCarthy with Tapelo Xoki © Backpagepix

AmaZulu FC coach Benni McCarthy marked his return to South African football by winning the DStv Premiership Coach of the Month award and Mamelodi Sundowns’ striker Peter Shalulile won the Player of the Month award.

Both McCarthy and Shalulile were named the league’s individual monthly award winners for January/February (period of 12 January - 24 February). This is the first Coach of the Month award for the former Bafana Bafana striker McCarthy and Shalulile also bagged his first monthly award in the league since his arrival from Namibia in 2015.

The resurgent Usuthu, under the guidance of the Cape Town-born coach, picked up 15 points, scored 11 goals and kept three clean sheets in their eight games played in January and February, which saw the club go on an impressive seven-game unbeaten league run after losing to Chiefs on 13 January.

McCarthy's Usuthu beat an unpredictable Bloemfontein Celtic and Baroka FC away from home, triumphed against Steve Barker’s Stellenbosch FC and Gavin Hunt’s Kaizer Chiefs, while they secured draws against title-chasing SuperSport United and Swallows FC as well as neighbours Maritzburg United. Those results allowed him to win the award which was voted for by a panel of experts including former players, radio commentators, analysts and football media.

The judges commented: “Benni has built a solid, hard-working AmaZulu FC side that is fearless against any opposition in the league. Since his arrival, he has created a good and harmonious spirit in his team and has motivated some of the players that were discarded by their previous clubs, to prove a point on the pitch. Having gone unbeaten in seven straight games is an impressive return for AmaZulu FC”.

New, in-form Sundowns’ striker Shalulile has added his touch of class and high work rate to an already formidable side, having immensely contributed to the league champion’s occupation of the top of the log standings in January and February. In the six games that Shalulile played during the period, he scored three goals, provided two assists as well as two secondary assists.

He was praised for being an all-round contributor to Sundowns, often doing great defensive work, especially when defending set plays.

Golden Arrows coach Mandla Ncikazi and Sundowns’ head coach Manqoba Mngqithi were recognised for their efforts with their teams during the intense judging session, while SuperSport United striker Bradley Grobler and August Mulenga of AmaZulu FC were also praised for their contribution.

Meanwhile, AmaZulu FC defender Tapelo Xoki joined his coach for the monthly awards presentation as he got the nod from the public and football supporters for the goal of the month gong. It was his brilliantly-struck free-kick in referee’s optional time when Usuthu beat Bloemfontein Celtic which was voted the best of the 10 nominated goals.

Voting for the DStv Premiership Goal of the Month is still via the PSL website, where football supporters and the public can vote for their favourite goal monthly. All goals are available on the website. Football supporters that vote for their best goal on the PSL website stand a chance to win a jersey of their favourite DStv Premiership club, thanks to proud league sponsors, DStv.

Judges for Coach and Player of the Month: Mark Gleeson (convenor, SuperSport), Dikgang Mabalane (SuperSport), Phumudzo Manenzhe (SABC Sport), Lethabo Kganyago (SABC Sport), Tholakele Mganga (Primedia), Tiyani Mabasa (Far Post), Mninawa Ntloko (Times Live), Njabulo Ngidi (New Frame).

For their awards, McCarthy, Shalulile and Xoki will each receive a trophy and R7 000 courtesy of league sponsors, DStv.