Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana has been nominated for the AITEO CAF Awards 2017 in the category of Women’s National Team of the Year.
South Africa also received another nomination with Thembi Kgatlana as one of the candidates in the Women’s Player of the Year category.
The nomination for the national team award comes at the back of South Africa lifting the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship held recently in Zimbabwe – their fourth title in the competition.
But Banyana Banyana will have to fend of a challenge from the national teams of Ghana U20, Kenya, Nigeria U20 as well as Zimbabwe.
“This is fantastic news. This is the second year in a row that we get a player nomination – last year it was Janine van Wyk – a real indication that this has been a team effort, and if the collective does well, then individuals will always stand out. We are proud that our efforts have been rewarded with this nomination and this can only make us work harder because we have set the bar very high for ourselves. We hope this time we bring it home as we believe it will serve as an inspiration to the current crop of players and those that will come after,” said interim Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis upon hearing the news.
“A big thank you to SAFA, our proud sponsor Sasol, all the club coaches and players in the Sasol League and this shows we are all moving in the right direction.”
She also had high praise for Kgatlana.
“This is the best news that one of our players has been nominated for such a prestigious award, more so as it comes after she walked away with the Player of the Tournament accollade at the COSAFA CUP. We can only wish her all the best and we are confident she stands a good chance of winning it – this is well deserved, she has worked very hard for it and continues to do so with every match,” added Ellis.
2017 has been Kgatlana’s year.
She has already won several awards this year – Player of the Tournament at the COSAFA CUP; Player of the Year at the SAFA Cape Town Awards; Sports Person of the Year at the University of Western Cape, among others.
“I still cannot believe this. The CAF Women’s player of the year nomination came as a surprise to me, and I wasn’t even aware that the awards are coming up as I’m in the middle of studying for my year-end exams. But I am very grateful that my talent and hard work has not gone unnoticed – what is even more pleasing is that it is also recognised and appreciated, not only in the country, but outside South Africa as well. This will not have been achieved without the help and support of SAFA and Sasol, my teammates and the technical teams for both club and country – to all I say thank you, this nomination is for all of us,” said an elated Kgatlana.
“As for the Banyana Banyana nomination, I am not surprised because this team deserves everything coming their way because of the hard work they put in, which resulted in us regaining the COSAFA Cup after we defeated the hosts. I am hopeful that it will be our name that is called out on the night, and good luck to all of us.”
Kgatlana will battle it out against Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Dalian Quanjian); Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Cameroon & CSKA Moscow); Rutendo Makore; (Zimbabwe & Black Rhinos) and Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi & Kvarnsvedens).
The winners will be decided by votes from the members of the CAF Technical & Development Committee, CAF Media Experts Panel and Independent Media and TV Consultants.
The Awards Gala will take place on Thursday, 4 January 2018 in Accra, Ghana.
Women’s Player of the Year Nominees
Asisat Oshoala – (Nigeria & Dalian Quanjian)
Thembi Kgatlana – (South Africa & UWC Ladies)
Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene – (Cameroon & CSKA Moscow)
Rutendo Makore – (Zimbabwe & Black Rhinos)
Tabitha Chawinga – (Malawi & Kvarnsvedens)
Women’s National Team of the Year Nominees