(Published - 9 January 2019)
UWC alumna Thembi Kgatlana was the biggest winner at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Annual Awards last night, walking away with both the 2018 Women’s Player of the Year and the 2018 Goal of the Year awards.
The Banyana Banyana forward, who is currently plying her trade with Houston Dash in the United States, staved off stiff competition from the Nigerian duo of Asisat Oshoala and Fransisca Ordega to become only the second South African - after Noko Matlou in 2008 - to be the top woman footballer on the African continent.
The Player of the Year accolade was decided by a panel which included the CAF Technical and Development Committee, CAF Media Experts, Legends, Coaches and captains of the 54 member associations, while the Goal of the Year award was decided via online public voting (and the UWC community surely played a role).
Kgatlana, who paused her studies at UWC to join Houston Dash last year, had a stellar season in 2018 and was crowned the Player of the Tournament and finished as the Top Goal Scorer at the African Women Cup of Nations in Ghana late last year.
UWC Director of Sport Administration, Mandla Gagayi, congratulated Kgatalana and said she has set an impressive bar for all South African women footballers. “Her discipline and commitment to football, especially coming from a country where there is no professional league, is an envy of many football coaches and administrators,” Gagayi said. “As UWC Sport, we are proud to be associated with an athlete of her calibre. I hope that her achievement will compel the powers that be in football to really take women’s football in South Africa seriously by establishing a pro league”.