Shabba hoping for top award
Johannesburg – Siphiwe Tshabalala could end his dream season, which began about six months ago in front of 90 000 spectators at Soccer City (now the FNB Stadium), on a high note in Sandton on Friday night.
The Bafana Bafana star is the favourite to be named player of the year when the South African Football Association (SAFA) holds its third annual prize-giving event.
Shabba, as the 26-year-old left winger is known, gripped the country’s imagination on June 11 this year when he scored the first goal of the 2010 FIFA World Cup against Mexico.
This goal also recently made it onto the shortlist for the prestigious Puskas awards for the best goal of 2010. Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Lionel Messi, Samir Nasri and Arjen Robben are also on the FIFA list, with winners announced on January 20 in Zürich, Switzerland.
Tshabalala, on Friday night, will come up against Steven Pienaar, Bafana Bafana's vice captain and Everton's player of the year, and Bongani Khumalo, whose excellent form in the SWC 2010 has just landed him a contract with the top English club, Tottenham Hotspur.
Pitso Mosimane is the favourite to walk away with the coach of the year award after he took over the Bafana Bafana reins from Carlos Alberto Parreira shortly after the tournament.
Under Mosimane, the South Africans have already beaten Ghana and Niger, and have drawn with Sierra Leone.
Bafana Bafana only just lost against a highly-regarded American team in the Nelson Mandela Challenge match in Cape Town.
Bafana is at the top of their qualifying group for the African Cup of Nations championship in 2012, and will play against Egypt on March 26.