Football

SOUTH AFRICA DOMINANT AT THE INAUGURAL COSAFA AWARDS

Lydia Monyepoa, SAFA CEO and Dr Desiree Ellis recepient of the Women’s coach of the Year award during the COSAFA Awards at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on the 9th of May 2024 ©Nokwanda Zondi/BackpagePix

 South Africa dominated the inaugural COSAFA Awards held at the Sandton Convention Centre on Thursday night with local coaches and players taking centre stage.

It was a fantastic night for South African football and Banyana Banyana coach Dr Desiree Ellis led the way when she won the Women’s Coach of the Year award. Dr Ellis saw off competition from Zambia’s Bruce Mwape and Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies’ Jerry Tshabalala to win the award.

“When I was the captain of Banyana Banyana, we won our first ever trophy at the COSAFA Cup in Zimbabwe. And 15 years later as the coach of Banyana Banyana, we won it again in Zimbabwe. My journey started then, but there are so many people that I have to thank,” Dr Ellis said.

“We thank the South African Football Association (SAFA) for being visionaries, for taking the chance on us female coaches, not just myself, but also our youth teams. To the Banyana Banyana players, I thank you and it’s an attitude of gratitude for everything that you’ve done because I am because you are. You are the ones that go onto the field and make us look good. To the coaches that have come before, that have laid the platform, to the players that have come before and to my fellow nominees, Bruce Mwape has done fantastically for Zambia and congratulations to them for qualifying for the Olympics. To coach Jerry Shabalala, he’s shown on the continent and at club level there’s no one other than him.”

Bafana Bafana forward Percy Tau walked away with the Men’s Player of the Year, Ronwen Williams was named Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year, Andile Dlamini won Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year, Thapelo Maseko won Men’s Most Promising Player and Mamelodi Sundowns mentor Rulani Mokwena took home the Men’s Coach of the Year.

The Egypt-based Tau was not present at the awards and Dr Jordaan accepted his accolade on his behalf. Dr Jordaan said the COSAFA region has made great strides in the last few years.

“COSAFA has made the most progress in the last year, which culminated in the recent AFCON where COSAFA had five representatives. Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa represented our region and made sure that our region contributed to the overall success of the African Cup of Nations,” Dr Jordaan said.

“When people say that this was the best African Cup of Nations ever, COSAFA and its teams contributed to both the success, the commercial viability and the enjoyment of the tournament.  We want to say congratulations to those who were there to share that moment with us.

“In women’s football, the current African champion comes from COSAFA. South Africa, Zambia and Botswana represented COSAFA in the last African Cup of Nations. South Africa and Zambia qualified for the 2023 FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and made progress to the last group of 16. In our own region, our men’s competition, the COSAFA Cup, Zambia finished top with 19 appearances. Zimbabwe at 12, South Africa 10, Mozambique eight, Angola seven. Angola also has made it to the final of the recent FUTSAL tournament, and we want to congratulate them for making it to the final and ending second in that tournament.

“In the COSAFA Women’s Championship, the Malawi senior women’s team are the current champions. Malawi have competed in every single women’s championship 10 times, tied with Zimbabwe and South Africa and then Botswana and Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, showing COSAFA’s balanced approach not only on men’s football but also in the pursuit and the development of women’s football. So let us celebrate the achievement together.”

SAFA Referees Committee chairperson Victor Gomes was named COSAFA Referee Legend, former Banyana Banyana defender Janine van Wyk received a Lifetime Achievement for services as a player, Fran Hilton-Smith was awarded a Lifetime Achievement in services to women’s football and veteran journalist Mark Gleeson was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement in services to the media.

FULL LIST OF COSAFA AWARD WINNERS

MEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Percy Tau (South Africa)

WOMEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Racheal Kundananji (Zambia)

MEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR
Rulani Mokwena (Mamelodi Sundowns)

WOMEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR
Dr Desiree Ellis (South Africa)

MEN’S GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR
Ronwen Williams (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)

WOMEN’S GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR
Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies & South Africa)

MEN’S MOST PROMISING PLAYER
Thapelo Maseko (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)

WOMEN’S MOST PROMISING PLAYER
Leticia Chinyamula (Ascent Academy & Malawi)

COSAFA BEST MALE REFEREE
Jerson Dos Santos (Angola)

COSAFA BEST FEMALE REFEREE
Diana Chikotesha (Zambia)

COSAFA MOST PROMISING REFEREE
Tsiaro Randriambololoma (Madagascar)

COSAFA REFEREE LEGEND
Victor Gomes (South Africa)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT FOR SERVICES AS A PLAYER
Janine van Wyk

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN SERVICES TO REFEREEING
Felix Tangawarima

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN SERVICES TO WOMEN’S FOOTBALL
Fran Hilton-Smith

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN SERVICES TO COACHING
Sunday Chidzambwa

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN SERVICES TO THE MEDIA
Mark Gleeson.

SOURCED FROM THE SAFA WESITE.

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