Why Nomvethe is the best
SIYABONGA Nomvethe is not only the leading goalscorer in this Absa Premiership season, but is also the top marksman of all currently active players in South Africa as he approaches the century mark in his career.
"Bhele" has netted 12 league goals in the current campaign, and 13 in total for the season in all competitions, to take his career tally to 97 in South African domestic football.
That is ahead of the next highest currently active player, Jomo Cosmos veteran Alton Meiring, who has 89 career goals to date.
The next two on the list are Mamelodi Sundowns and Bafana Bafana star Katlego Mphela with 68 goals and Lamontville Golden Arrows' Zambian striker Collins Mbesuma, who has 66.
Rounding out the top five is Nomvethe's former teammate at African Wanderers in the 1990s, Sibusiso Zuma, who now turns out for SuperSport United and has 63 career goals in the PSL after spending a large chunk of his career abroad in Denmark.
Nomvethe's 97 goals have come in 196 starts, a healthy return of almost a goal every other game since he made his top-flight debut against AmaZulu in a 4-0 Rothmans Cup defeat for Wanderers in July 1997.
Days later he scored his first goal in a thrilling 3-all draw with Kaizer Chiefs.
Now 34, Nomvethe has shown no sign of slowing down, and although he typically declined to discuss his scoring exploits - such is his humble nature - his coach at Swallows, Gordon Igesund, has been effusive in his praise and sends a clear message to national team coach Pitso Mosimane.
Mosimane has claimed that selecting older players such as Nomvethe and Benni McCarthy would send the wrong message to up-and-coming youngsters, yet in the same breath has bemoaned the national team's lack of goals.
"I hate talking about Nomvethe's age because it really doesn't matter," Igesund says. "He has been fantastic for us this season, he has won us games with his goals and created chances for his teammates, so what does it matter if he is 34?
"If he is 39 and can still play like that, I will pick him. We are too fixated with a player's age in this country and we forget to look at their ability. That is what counts."
Nomvethe's exploits this season must put him in the running for the PSL player of the season award, an honour he collected in the 1999-2000 season while on the books of Kaizer Chiefs.
The leading goalscorer in PSL history is former Jomo Cosmos, SuperSport United, Orlando Pirates and Maritzburg United striker Manuel Tico-Tico Bucuane.
The Mozambican netted 108 times in 286 starts for his various teams.
And the top marksman in South African football since the inception of the National Soccer League in 1985 is former Sundowns legend Daniel "Mambush" Mudau, who scored 172 times in 390 starts for The Brazilians.