'What did he do?' - Do PSL coaches trust league's man-of-the-match system?

08 August 2018 - 15:21 By Marc Strydom
Pitso Mosimane during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on April 01, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Pitso Mosimane during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on April 01, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane’ exchange in his post-match TV interview this weekend after his team’s 1-1 draw against Kaizer Chiefs‚ questioning Khama Billiat being named man-of-the-match‚ has raised questions over how the award is made.

Mosimane had a testy exchange with SuperSport anchor Robert Marawa at Loftus Versfeld‚ ending it by asking of his former Sundowns player Billiat‚ signed by Chiefs this off-season‚ “What did he do?”.

Coaches often seem to say post-game‚ even about their own players‚ that they do not know how they won man-of-the-match (MoM) in PSL fixtures.

The award is decided by TV commentators at the game.

It’s all a talking point in the end‚ and football is a game of opinions that often differ.

Do coaches and commentators simply see the game differently in its technical aspects? Are the commentators getting their decisions wrong too often? Is there a better way to decide it?

We asked four PSL coaches:

Dan Malesela (Chippa United coach)

Like any other thing‚ people won’t be accurate every time. But in this instance I think the people who select these things sometimes are just missing it completely.

I concur with Pitso on this one. Because even me‚ I was baffled on how Billiat got man-of-the-match.

But my opinion might be right‚ and it might be wrong‚ of course. I do know that from the point of view of Pitso it will also have a bitter taste because it’s like somebody’s sending him a message of some sort. Which would not be fair. Because when we judge this game we should judge it fairly and with complete knowledge of what we are doing.

In the Sundowns game‚ I would have thought Themba Zwane was the biggest contender for MoM. For Chiefs that young boy‚ the left-back [Emmanuel Ntiya-Ntiya]‚ did a good job for someone new. And that would also encourage him.

I think they must have rules on how they select this thing. There are even times when they select somebody from my team and I say‚ ‘What?’

Obviously the game is not looked at with that critical eye that coaches do‚ breaking down individuals. But I still think the guys doing it can do better.

Cavin Johnson (AmaZulu coach)

No‚ sir‚ I don’t have any comment. The game of football is played by 22 people. If a panel of people think that one stands out‚ then so be it. I don’t give a damn.

I don’t give a damn – as long as I get the three points!

It’s open to interpretation and it’s a talking point. For me‚ it’s people outside the game of football [deciding]. The game is played by 22 people.

Man-of-the-match is there to make the game more exciting. And if it does that‚ that’s good. I’ve never got a problem with that.

Fadlu Davids (Maritzburg United coach)

It’s a subject that I think gets discussed all over the world. Because the commentators are praising a player in one moment and then they have to justify their praise and give him MoM.

But it’s not an objective decision because they’re commentating. They’re doing two jobs at once. You can’t be commentating and watching the game tactically‚ seeing what is really happening‚ what’s the value of a certain player. A lot of the time it’s just a player who scored the goal who gets MoM.

I’ve got no solution to it‚ but definitely it’s a point that has to be discussed and reviewed. Perhaps have one guy who’s not commentating‚ or a few‚ who are watching the game objectively and tactically‚ understanding football and then making a clear‚ objective decision.

Paul Johnstone (Bidvest Wits assistant-coach)

People’s opinion is always going to be different. So whoever’s making that decision sees it one way‚ a coach of the opposition may see it another and then the coach of our team may see it another way as well.

So it’s just a bit of match banter. Obviously emotions run high after a game. Things are said and often probably out of emotion and not always real opinion.

You might have three or four commentators for a game‚ and they all might see it differently. And at the end of the day they need to choose one‚ so that’s who it is. Whether it’s right or wrong in the coach’s eyes‚ there’s always going to be controversy.