Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune together with Clinton Larsen, the Lamontville Golden Arrows coach, have been selected as the first recipients of the best player and coach of the month awards for the 2017/18 Absa Premiership season.
Khune, who after a string of brilliant performances for his club, saw him win the Man of the Match awards for three matches in succession against Cape Town City, Maritzburg United and Golden Arrows during the period of August and September.
The judges felt Khune produced an impressive display and kept his team together during this time. He also stood out for his leadership qualities which saw him lead the Naturena-based side from the back.
Khune, from Ventersdorp in the North West, took the award after receiving the most votes from a panel of experts made up of former players, broadcasters and analysts. He beat the in-form Lerato Lamola from Golden Arrows, Cape Town City captain Robyn Johannes and Gift Motupa, the Baroka FC forward to the nod.
Durban-born coach Larsen guided ‘Abafana Besthende’ to three wins and two draws during this period, with his side impressively beating Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits away from, city rivals AmaZulu and Platinum Stars, also away from home. He has guided his side to second on the log standings by the start of October.
The judging panel were impressed by the continuation of the exciting display his team produced last season, keeping the core of his team, smartly managing to blend youth and experience well and grinding out victories despite the little resources at his disposal.
This time last season, Larsen was also recognised with the award as he became the first coach to win the award. Two other coaches also came into contention for the award – Cape Town-based Benni McCarthy and Kgoloko Thobejane, who is at the helm at Baroka FC.
The Players and Coach of the Month awards were selected by a panel of judges made up of members of the broadcast media and football analysts and was convened by analyst and former footballer Marks Maponyane.
As proud sponsors of the Absa Premiership, Absa congratulates Khune and Larsen on their awards, having had an impressive start to the season. Absa looks forward to the resumption of league action next week for the continuation of what has been a thrilling start to the new campaign.