DAKAR – Banyana Banyana striker Thembi Kgatlana has been nominated in two categories for the CAF Awards which takes place on Tuesday in Dakar, Senegal.
The USA-based Kgatlana, who plies her trade with the professional women's soccer team Houston Dash, is in the hat for the African Women’s Player of the Year as well as for the CAF Goal of the Year award.
“I am speechless, I am over the moon just about the nomination – but as for two of them, I can only say that God is great," she said.
"After losing in 2017, I said back then that this was a good wake up call for me to work even harder, and now the results are there for all to see,” said Kgatlana, who has been called up for the Banyana Banyana squad to face the Netherlands and Sweden in Cape Town later this month.
“The truth is, in both nominations, I am up against tough candidates, but I feel more confident going to the awards this time around, and I can only thank my teammates and the coaching staff for this feeling.
"Football is a team sport and if it was not for them I would not have performed the way I did, and would not have received these nominations. I just hope I bring back something this time – but if I don’t, I will have to go back and work even harder until I bring it home.”
The latter nomination of Goal of the Year is for the strike she took when Banyana defeated Nigeria 1-0 in their opening match of the 2018 Women’s Afcon held in Ghana in November.
Kgatlana will have to fight off the challenge of the Nigerian duo of Asisat Oshoala and Fransisca Ordega.
This is Kgatlana’s second consecutive nomination for the same award – which she lost to Oshoala – but this time around she will be hoping to become the second South African after Noko Matlou won the title in 2008.
Meanwhile, Banyana Banyana are also in the running for the CAF Women’s National Team of Year – an award they won in 2018. South Africa faces stiff competition from Cameroon (2018 Women’s Afcon semifinalists) and Nigeria (2018 Women’s Afcon finalists).
Desiree Ellis has also been nominated in the Coach of the Year category – again fighting off the challenge of Joseph Brian Ndoko (Cameroon) and Thomas Dennerby (Nigeria).
African News Agency (ANA)