Monnapule Saleng powered Orlando Pirates to a 4-1 win against Swallows with a hat-trick on Friday night, but is he doing enough to win the player of the season award?
Orlando Pirates were in rampant mood at Dobsonville Stadium, Soweto. Saleng was once again the star of the show for Amabhakaniya, with the rejuvenated Terence Dzvukamanja grabbing the other goal.
Bucs put on a dominant performance against the relegation-threatened Swallows, enjoying 61% possession and managed to keep Swallows on the back foot.
Even though they failed to turn their possession stats into a lot of chances, they were able to take full advantage of their four shots on target, converting them all to goals.
While their emphatic victory might have done enough to appease their supporters after last week’s disappointing loss to Kaizer Chiefs, the spotlight again fell on their wing forward, Saleng.
Saleng’s exploits for Bucs this season have been well documented, with him single-handedly carrying the Buccaneers’ ship on his small shoulders.
His performances have raised talk of him being a strong contender for the Dstv Premiership player of the season award.
The fact of the matter is
Saleng’s big influence and contribution for Pirates this season can’t be disputed.
He delivered the MTN8 trophy for them on a silver platter, scoring three goals in the tournament, including the sublime free-kick against AmaZulu FC in the final, and also came up with an assist.
In the league, Saleng has scored eight goals in 14 matches, with five assists to his name.
That means in Pirates’ 25 league goals, Saleng has directly contributed to 12, which is almost half of the total.
On top of his goals and assists, Saleng has won nine MOTM awards. His numbers make it hard to ignore his strong case for the Dstv Premiership player of the season award, and a clean sweep in the Orlando Pirates end-of-the-season awards.
With his high work rate and willingness to learn from his more experienced teammates, as he revealed to the media recently, Saleng can only improve.
“My teammates especially the senior players have been pushing me,” Saleng recently told the club when asked about what makes him tick.
“They [teammates] can see where I want to see myself. So they always push me at training, and I’m happy to be around them.
“The experienced players are constantly advising me, making me very happy. So my form starts from training; the way I train is how I play matches, and I don’t have any rest.
“I’m always doing extra training even when I’m at home. I want to constantly be at the top every game,” Saleng concluded.
In a nutshell
Saleng has been Orlando Pirates’ key player this season, and he has already received a Bafana call up.
There is more to come from him, with the Nedbank Cup and the league still going on.
Fan views on Saleng:
@MS_Sharpeville believes Saleng is only effective against smaller teams.
“Saleng has small match temperament. He is nowhere to be found in big games.”
Scoring a Hattrick against volunteers makes one, player of the season? PSL is easy mos
He doesn’t need penalties to score a hat-trick Saleng for player of the Season #OnceAlways
@PFMSFC1 thinks Saleng should be more consistent.
Monnapule Saleng only scored against 3 teams this season in the league. 3 goals against Swallows, 3 goals against Arrows, 1 goal against Gallants But people are telling us that he is carrying Orlando Pirates alone, where was he when his team needed him against other teams?
@Nkosina45974389 thinks Saleng deserves a nomination, but he believes the Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Ronwen Williams and Cassius Mailula are ahead of him.
“He deserves to be contender for player of the season, so far I don’t see him ahead of Ronwen Williams and Cash.”