Chiefs keeper nets hat trick

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune's heroics in the Telkom Knockout competition were rewarded yesterday when he romped home with the goalkeeper and player of the tournament awards at a glittering ceremony in Johannesburg.

The awards ceremony also saw Mamelodi Sundowns' Benson Mhlongo and Esrom Nyandoro walk away with the defender and midfielder of the tournament respectively.

Khune won a whopping R300000 (R100 000 for goalkeeper and R200000 for player of the tournament) while Mhlongo and Nyandoro went home with R100 000 each.

The top goalscorer award, which most believed would be won by the Brazilians' Lerato Chabangu, was not given because the striker scored four goals and this category stated that the prize was for five or more goals scored during regu- lation time or extra-time.

Although he scored a penalty during the penalty shootout, that goal was not counted, the judging panel's spokesman Marks Maponyane explained during the prize-giving ceremony.

Mhlongo, who said he would go to a mental hospital if his side lost, said yesterday after collecting his prize that he was now well and ready to play again.

"I was admitted to hospital on Saturday night after the game, and was discharged yesterday and told by hospital authorities that I had fully recovered and that I should go and collect my award."

Khune, who made his mark in top flight soccer this season, also won the Jet Club PSL Rookie of the Month award for November, which was announced earlier yesterday.

Born and brought up in the dusty streets of Tshing township in Ventersdorp, North West, the excited Khune admitted that his achievement in such a short period is a pleasant surprise.

Said Khune: "I'm grateful that coach Muhsin Ertugral gave me the opportunity to showcase my talent.

"That shows that the coach and his staff have confidence in me. And I hope that I will continue where I left off and work harder with my teammates to take Chiefs to greater heights.

"Things have happened so fast in my maiden season in the professional league, and not even the thought of winning the Jet Club PSL Rookie of the month crossed my mind."

Khune beat defenders Ramahlwe Mphahlele of Moroka Swallows and Didier Mbendje (Bloemfontein Celtic); striker Ryan Chapman (Ajax Cape Town); and Santos midfielder Sameehg Doutie to the monthly award.

PSL chief executive Kjetil Siem said it was a great final.

"The level of soccer is high and players showed the commitment and passion to the game. There was no cheating and unnecessary diving. We hope that they continue to perform as they did," said Siem.