South Africa: Banyana Banyana Win Big At 2018 CAF Awards

Photo: CAF
Thembi Kgatlana also won Goal of The Year at the award ceremony in Senegal.

Head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, has been named the CAF Women's National Team Coach of the Year 2018, while forward Thembi Kgatlana took home two trophies - the CAF Goal of the Year and CAF Woman Player of the Year awards.

This is an historic win for Ellis, a former Banyana Banyana captain. Ellis capped off a fine year after she made history in 2018 - she was the first person to win the COSAFA Women's Championship as both player and coach, and she is also the first individual to qualify the South African Women's National Team to the World Cup.

The awards took place in Dakar, the capital of Senegal on Tuesday night (8 January 2019).

Ellis beat off a strong challenge of Joseph Brian Ndoko (Cameroon) and Thomas Dennerby (Nigeria) - the trio will be leading their teams at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France in June.

She is the only person to win the COSAFA Women's Championship as both player and coach. She is also the first coach to qualify the South African Senior Women's National Team to a FIFA World Cup.

Also flying high the South African flag was Kgatlana who won the CAF Goal of the Year award - this was for the strike she took when Banyana Banyana defeated Nigeria 1-0 in their opening match of the 2018 Women's AFCON held in Ghana in November.

The goal also earned her the Player of the Match of Award - she went on to score four more goals to be crowned Player of the Tournament.

The Goal of the Year winner was decided via online public voting.

Kgatlana finished as the top goalscorer in the 2018 Women's AFCON with five goals, where she also walked away with the Player of the Tournament accolade.

The pint-sized player took home the coveted 2018 Women's Player of the Year award - pipping the Nigerian duo of Asisat Oshoala and Fransisca Ordega. She was also a nominee for the African Player of the Year award in 2017.

The Houston Dash forward becomes the second South African to lift this trophy, following in the footsteps of fellow Banyana Banyana striker Noko Matlou in 2008.

The nominees were selected based on their performance from February 2018 to November 2018 - a period in which Kgatlana shone.

Kgatlana led her country to the final of the 2018 Women's AFCON held in Ghana in November - enough to ensure qualification to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup to be held in France in June.

She scored five goals, which saw her win three Woman of the Match accolades in a row - a feat which led her to being crowned the Player of the Tournament.

Banyana Banyana were however unluckly not to win the 2018 CAF Women's National Team of the Year award - an accolade they won in 2017.

South Africa lost to African Champions Nigeria, who defeated them in the final of the 2018 Women's AFCON held in Ghana in November.

The Awards Gala is to honour footballers, officials and administrators who distinguished themselves during the year under review.

The shortlisted nominees were decided by votes from the members of the Caf Technical and Development Committee.

The final phase will involved votes from CAF Media Experts, Legends, Coaches of the quarter-finalists of the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup, and coaches and Captains of the 54 Member Associations.

Banyana Banyana go into a training camp on Wednesday, 9 January 2019 to kickstart preparations for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France scheduled for 7 June to 7 July.

The squad will be based in Cape Town where they will face the Netherlands and Sweden in two international friendly matches on Saturday, 19 January and Tuesday, 22 January respectively.

Both matches will the place at the Cape Town Stadium with a 15h00 and 19h00 kickoff.

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