The league erred by declaring Truter best coach of the month

PSL awards should reward excellence, not sentiment

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Brandon Truter of Moroka Swallows wins coach of the month during the DStv Premiership Monthly Awards press conference at PSL Offices in Johannesburg.
Brandon Truter of Moroka Swallows wins coach of the month during the DStv Premiership Monthly Awards press conference at PSL Offices in Johannesburg.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The PSL appeared to have unnecessarily put itself in a tight corner this week over the coach of the month award it issued to Moroka Swallows’ Brandon Truter.

Truter has done well steering Swallows in their first five games of the DStv Premiership – which covered the period October/November for the award. But the fact is, statistics show he was not the best in that period, the Birds having garnered two points fewer than Mamelodi Sundowns, who won an extra match.

Debate raged as to whether, given this, Truter was a worthy winner. A PSL press release neither enhanced this debate nor helped Truter’s cause. “He (Truter) won the prize owing to the phenomenal job he has done in creating a good, balanced team with a nice mix of resolute youngsters together with tried and tested players, which has seen Swallows become a well-oiled machine that only conceded one goal in five outings (covering the period of judging),” the PSL told us.

The league then went on to put its foot in it, adding “Josef Zinnbauer (Orlando Pirates) and Baroka coach Thoka Matsimela, also received huge praise from the panel of experts, for their good efforts during the opening month of the 2020/21 campaign”.

The obvious question is why the coaches who put one team above the rest were nowhere near winning the award. Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena are the Sundowns joint coaches who filled Pitso Mosimane’s big shoes at the start of the season. They are being assisted by Steve Komphela.

To deny them their moment of glory when they had so many doubters is a bit unfair. It is even more insulting to mention Zinnbauer and Matsimela as having been among the contenders, while the Sundowns men are completely overlooked.

Some have claimed Mngqithi and Mokwena were not recognised because Sundowns are a strong team and should be expected to win anyway. What a joke!

The fact is, many expected Sundowns to wobble after Mosimane’s departure. But this hasn’t been the case. The PSL also mentions that Swallows staked “an impressive 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs”, in its poor attempt to build an appraisal for Truter. Duh! Sundowns dismantled Chiefs 3-0, although failing to beat this current Amakhosi these days ranks as underachievement.

Sundowns also have new players like Kermit Erasmus and Peter Shalulile, who’ve come into the side and have made immediate impact. It could all have gone awry for Mngqithi and Mokwena, had they not delivered. The nonsensical argument that they are at the helm of a well-resourced team for whom success is almost a given, remains a nonsensical argument.

By their very nature, awards must reward nothing but excellence. All teams are competing on an equal footing, not budget, popularity or whatever other criteria were used to arrive at the conclusion that Truter was the best for the judging period, when clearly he was not.

The PSL should avoid this precedence-setting cowardice and reward only truly meritorious achievement that can be backed by fact, not sentiment.

Otherwise we run the risk of indirectly punishing some for seeking to be better. If, let's say come May 2021, the league standings were to conclude the way they are at the moment, Sundowns finishing ahead of second-placed Swallows, what justification would the PSL have for looking elsewhere for coach of the season award?

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