SOCIALS | Dribbling all the way to the pesto & poultry as PSL stars meet their goals
She might have rankled Fikile Mbalula after claiming her bubbly would be served at the presidential inauguration - but is Bonang Matheba better versed on ball play?
That was the question on my mind on hearing that TV's golden girl was hosting the 2019 Premier Soccer League (PSL) awards.
Local football's big pat on the back took place on Sunday night at the Durban International Convention Centre.
At the venue, I greet a couple who love wardrobe bling, the PSL's Peter Mancer and his partner Claudia Mendes.
"We've taken over the kingdom," boasts Peter, pointing out that the previous day, at nearby Moses Mabhida Stadium, soccer upstarts TS Galaxy upset Kaizer Chiefs to scoop the Nedbank Cup trophy.
Onto the bantam player who scored that winning penalty goal, Zakhele Lepasa, who is talking to Mamelodi Sundowns player Themba Zwane, who was in the running for three awards on the night.
"You look 12," I blurt out to the forward, on loan from Orlando Pirates to the little-known KwaNdebele team. "No man, I am 22," he grins.
Elsewhere I spot dapper TV presenter Lunga Shabalala interviewing soccer movers and shakers like Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane.
Meeting Absa marketing exec Bobby Malabie and his wife, Emmanuelle, I comment on the latter's Gallic accent.
"French accent - and French body," quips Bobby.
A quick hello to SuperSport presenter Lindiwe Dube and on to another European import, lanky Dutch player Peter Leeuwenburgh, whose signing to Cape Town City has proven a boon: he was up for goalkeeper of the season.
"Getting a nomination in my first season is fantastic," said the 25-year-old, there with his partner Romy Burger.
Into the hall, and we are served a starter on poultry overload - three portions of pesto-crumbed chicken garnished with broccoli and radish.
At the main table I notice a familiar face - Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who looks relieved when I mention I'm more interested in her frock than her fitness to run her office.
Mind you, though our embattled public protector is a lot prettier in real life, I found her black cocktail dress a little underwhelming for the occasion. Her table mates were a motley crew, from soccer heavyweights Irvin Khoza and Kaizer Motaung to Bantu Holomisa, whose party's support dropped by half in the elections, and the EFF's Dali Mpofu.
Then there is someone who is even shorter than many of our soccer players, new KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala, who is in his element - working the room and posing for selfies.On to the awards, and no sign of Bonang as we are welcomed by Carol Tshabalala and that sportscaster who sounds like he's on helium, Thomas Mlambo.Unlike many other ceremonies, this is a speedy affair with recipients in most of the early categories not boring us with acceptance speeches as the gongs are handed out. Then, after a thunderous traditional Zulu sequence, up on stage arrives Bonang, looking like a dream in a red sequined gown that shows off a décolletage that over the years has grown as much as the Red Berets' electoral support.And while Twitter trolls did drag Queen B for a gaff - she announced nominees in the top goal-scorer category, but there was none, only an automatic winner - she added a good dose of glam to what is often a lukewarm occasion.On to the winners, and Zakhele took home the Nedbank Cup player of the tournament trophy while Dutch Peter capped his debut season with a win as the MTN Last Man Standing.