WARRIORS midfielder Willard Katsande was the biggest loser at the annual South African Absa Premier Soccer League Awards held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Sunday night.
ZIMBABWEANS ABROAD with HENRY MHARA
Katsande, who last week snubbed the Warriors call for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, arrived at the glamorous function expecting to land the Absa PSL Footballer of the Year as well as the Players Player of the Year gong but was beaten to the two awards by Bidvest Wits midfield general Sibusiso Vilakazi.
Vilakazi won R550 000.
The gritty midfielder failed to pitch up for the Warriors camp for their match against Tanzania, with a number of fans speculating that he had snubbed the country to rather attend the awards ceremony.
Katsande argues he was not feeling well due to diarrhoea, but reportedly trained with his club Kaizer Chiefs in the days he was supposed to be with his Warriors teammates.
The former Highway and Gunners man appeared in good spirits and did not show any signs of discomfort at the beginning of the awards ceremony on Sunday night. He now faces an uncertain future with the Warriors with coach Ian Gorowa set to decide on his fate this week. Many fans are questioning Katsande’s loyalty and want him banned from the team.
While he is obviously devastated by the Sunday loss and now facing a bleak future with the Warriors, he has received some words of encouragement from Vilakazi.
“Look, Willard [Katsande] had a great season as well. It’s just that there’s only one winner. For him, I hope he keeps on working even harder and keeps his head up. I hope he tries to do more and scores even more goals as well.
Losing is not the end of the world, things can only get better, you know. He must keep his head up, hey,” Vilakazi told the media after the ceremony.
Just like Katsande, his teammate Knowledge Musona also endured a bad night at the awards as he was beaten to the Absa Premiership Absa-lutely Awesome Goal of the Season which went to Mamelodi Sundowns’ Hlompho Kekana.
It was a memorable weekend though for Warriors left back Costa Nhamoinesu whose Czech Republic team Sparta Praha completed a double by winning the Czech Republic Cup after beating rivals Viktoria Plzen after a penalty shoot-out on Saturday evening.
Before last Saturday’s success, Sparta had already bagged the league title whose reward is participation in the Uefa Champions League next season. They won the league with three games to spare, having lost just once so far in the campaign.
Nhamoinesu was expected to make his comeback from injury in the Saturday match, but failed a late fitness test. He is now expected to return into the squad for the league match on Sunday.
Another Warriors player who will be playing European Cup football next season is Quincy Antipas, whose Danish side Brondby secured a Uefa Europa league spot with a 2-2 draw away to Nordsjælland.
The former Motor Action man was a second half substitute in the match for his 25th appearance in 33 for the club this season.
Still in Denmark, Silas Songani was not in the final 18 for SønderjyskE who recorded their second straight win with a 3-1win over Midtjylland on Saturday. Songani’s team survived relegation after their win last week.
Media reports in South Africa are linking the unheralded Zimbabwean Patrick Kaunda, the, who topped the scoring charts in Botswana’s be-Mobile Premier League this past season, with a move to South African Premiership side Platinum Stars.
Kaunda scored 20 goals in the 2013/2014 season for FC Satmos in Botswana to win the Golden Boot award. If the deal materialises, Kaunda could become the second player in recent years to join Dikwena from the Botswana Premier League following Terrance Mandaza who made a similar move three seasons ago.