POLOKWANE, 02 JUN – Brave Warriors striker and newly crowned player of the year, Panduleni Nekundi says winning the top award of the Namibia Premier League (NPL) was long overdue.
He on Friday won the Player of the Season and Top Goal Scorer awards for the 2017/18 season at the NPL awards.
Speaking to Nampa on Saturday in Polokwane, where the Brave Warriors were set to face Zambia in the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup later in the day, Nekundi said being top goal scorer and top player was a dream come true for him as he feels vindicated.
“I am just happy I got the recognition I deserve. This is a relief as I always knew I had it in me to perform the way I did this season. It is not a surprise to me and I am happy,” he said.
He attributed his performance this season to his explosive start and staying injury free.
Nekundi said his teammates, coach and fans started believing in him, which in turn relieved the pressure that comes along with the expectations people have when they start believing in someone.
“As for the top goal scorer award, I could not do it alone as my team helped me a lot by creating all the chances that I scored. I really appreciate the trust they have in me,” he said.
Nekundi beat Dynamo Fredericks of Black Africa and Marcel Papama of the University of Namibia Football Club for the Player of the Season award.
He won N.dollars 45 000 in total – N.dollars 15 000 for the top goal scorer award and N.dollars 30 000 for the Player of the Season award.
Meanwhile, Fredericks walked away with the Players’ Player of the Season award which came with a cash prize of N.dollars 20 000.
He was voted for by the players and captains of the 16 Premier League teams.
The other nominees in the same category were Papama and Nekundi.
Brave Warriors captain Ronald Ketjijere urged the two players to keep their feet on the ground and continue working hard.
“They should not stop working hard, especially here at the Cosafa tournament where scouts will be looking at players for various team in Africa and the rest of the world,” he said.
Papama was humble and gracious in his defeat, saying although he did not win any prizes on Friday, just being nominated was a victory.
“It is my first full season in the top flight and I was in the mix with the big boys. I am happy with what I achieved this season and I know great things are yet to come for me. I congratulate my fellow national team players,” he said.
The Brave Warriors marked the two winners’ achievements with a guard of honour Saturday morning.