GOAL Most Improved Player of the Season: Ranga Chivaviro vs Ashley du Preez, who will get GOAL’s award?

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GOAL Most Improved Player of the Season
GOAL’s team of world-class journalists have spent weeks debating and arguing over who deserves our Most Improved Player of the Season Award

It has been another incredible season of ups and downs in the Premier Soccer League, domestic cups and, of course, continental competition.

Mamelodi Sundowns did what Sundowns do in the PSL and swept all before them as they marched to their sixth title in a row but were knocked out in the Caf Champions League semi-finals.

Orlando Pirates bagged the MTN8 trophy, are in the Nedbank Cup final and secured a second-place finish qualified for the Caf Champions League.

Kaizer Chiefs endured a tough season and finished fourth with their 8-year trophy drought continuing and uncertainty around Arthur Zwane’s position and the squad he’s assembled.

With every player trying their best to have a good season, GOAL looks at those who have managed to pull up their socks and bettered their game this season.

  1. Mr Versatility: Mothobi Mvala

    Mr Versatility: Mothobi Mvala

    Forget about his horrific own goal in the Caf Champions League that saw Sundowns crash out of the competition, Mvala has improved in leaps and bounds.

    Last season, he was primarily used in his natural position in midfield, but this season, Mvala found a new lease of life as a central defender. His consistency in that position speaks volumes about his versatility as a player.

    This season, Mvala was a regular starter for Downs, keeping the likes of natural centre-backs Mosa Lebusa and Brian Onyango out of the team most of the time.

  2. The hard rock: Nkosinathi Sibisi

    The hard rock: Nkosinathi Sibisi

    Sibisi has always been a brilliant player. But in the South African football context, you are really a good player if you can don the gold and black of Chiefs or the famous black and white of the Buccaneers and still be able to put on a show.

    Coming from a relatively mid-level team like Golden Arrows, Sibisi had to up his game at Pirates and he did just that.

    He walked into the Pirates starting line-up and has been a regular and pivotal figure in Jose Riveiro's side. He has already won the MTN8 and will look to star in the Nedbank Cup final. Sibisi has really lifted his hand up this season, even Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos knows.

  3. Silent poison: Sipheshile Ndlovu

    Silent poison: Sipheshile Ndlovu

    Ndlovu had no choice but to up his game when he arrived at SuperSport United as he was on loan from Pirates.

    He went about his business quietly, and he knew that Pirates coach Riveiro would keep monitoring him across the fence. Ndlovu has been the mainstay in Gavin Hunt's Matsatsantsa A Pitori side, and has helped them finish third and are on their way to the Caf Confederation Cup.

    Ndlovu's time at Bucs has been underwhelming, but when he arrived at The Spartans, he showed glimpses of his old self at Maritzburg before he caught the eye of the Buccaneers.

  4. The bridge between defence and attack: Yusuf Maart

    The bridge between defence and attack: Yusuf Maart

    A lot of Chiefs players and supporters can agree that Maart has been one of the most outstanding performers in the side. If Broos was forced to pick at least one player from the Chiefs team, it would be Maart.

    He has been the bridge between Amakhisi's defence and attack, and has chipped in with a couple of goals here and there.

    For a player's game to improve, one needs to have a certain level of confidence and Zwane gave that to Maart by giving him the responsibility to captain the side from time to time, which helped his game a great deal.

  5. Chiefs' livewire: Ashley du Preez

    Chiefs' livewire: Ashley du Preez

    The reality of the matter is that Du Preez did not have quite the season he would have loved to had at Chiefs, but that is not entirely down to his individual performances.

    Chiefs have been in shambles this season, finishing outside of the top four and registering the worst season as far as the league is concerned.

    However, Du Preez did pick up his socks in the second half of the season, making those runs that he used to make when he was at Stellenbosch FC. He has been the livewire for Amakhosi in the absence of the more prolific Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly.

  6. World at his feet: Ranga Chivaviro

    World at his feet: Ranga Chivaviro

    Chivaviro is hot property at the moment after firing Marumo Gallants into the semi-finals of the Confederation Cup, and who knows, if he was available for their final game of the PSL season, maybe Gallants would still be a top-flight side.

    Chivaviro has travelled a lot without much success. He used to play for Baroka FC and he did have the best of times there. He then silently went to Kosovo where he still did not find much joy. He also tried his luck in the NFD, but still.

    It is only now at his return at Gallants where he banged in 10 league goals, putting a threat to Peter Shalulile's Golden Boot award. For his efforts, he has attracted Soweto giants and other sides. Hats off to our Most Improved Player.