Udubs star footballer Thembi Kgatlana up for a continental award
University of the Western Cape (UWC) sensational women’s football star - and reigning Sportswoman of the Year - Thembi Kgatlana, has been shortlisted for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Women’s Player of the Year award - the most prestigious accolade for women footballers on the African continent.
Kgatlana is facing stiff competition for the award from her own role model: Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria. Other nominees for the award are Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene of Cameroon, Rutendo Makore of Zimbabwe, and Tabitha Chawinga of Malawi.
The winner will be decided by votes from the members of the CAF Technical & Development Committee, the CAF Media Experts Panel and Independent Media and TV consultants. The awards will be presented at an awards gala ceremony on 4 January 2018 in Accra, Ghana.
Other nominees from South Africa for the continental football awards include the national senior women’s team, Banyana Banya (of which Kgatlana is a member), for the Women’s National Team of the Year; and Supersport United for Club of the Year.
“The feeling of being nominated for the CAF award is very overwhelming,” comments Kgatlana, who is doing her second year of study towards a BA degree in tourism. “Who would have thought that one day I would be nominated against my favourite player, Asisat Oshoala?”
The Johannesburg-born Kgatlana has been in sparkling form since she joined UWC in 2015 (she took a break in 2016 to focus on her demanding Banyana Banyana schedule ahead of their participation at the Olympic Games in Brazil later in that year).
This year was particularly successful for her: she played a key role in helping Banyana Banyana win the COSAFA (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) Women's Championship, in which she was chosen as the Player of the Tournament, and she has recently been honoured with the Senior Women’s Player of the Year Award bySAFA Cape Town.
“The nomination will always stand out in my sporting career, because being nominated itself is an achievement,” Kgatlana says. “Personally, I think the nomination shows that if I work hard and stay focused I will eventually achieve what I want to be in life - and that is being one of the best female footballers in Africa and in the world, and making my debut in a professional league.”