Long-overdue recognition for Matlou

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

It has taken a while, but South African Football Association president Molefi Oliphant has finally fulfilled the promise he made to Noko Matlou.

Tonight, Safa will hold a banquet in honour of the CAF Women Footballer of the Year at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg.

Matlou disposed of stiff competition from the best on the continent, including Equatorial Guinea's Geneveva Anonma, to win the award.

She became the first South African - male or female - to win the prestigious continental accolade after past nominations of the likes of Benni McCarthy and Portia Modise.

Safa declined to comment on whether Matlou would be rewarded financially, though Oliphant, who is also the patron of women's football, said back in February that a certain amount of money would be considered by the association.

Oliphant said then: "As a token of our appreciation for her courage, she would receive an incentive."

Chief Executive Raymond Hack called Matlou's achievement "a thing to be proud of".

Incidentally, Matlou will soon leave our shores to play in greener pastures. One of the top clubs in Iceland is reportedly keen on signing Matlou and her Banyana team mate Busisiwe Ndimeni.

Banyana Banyana team manager Fran Hilton-Smith - credited with playing a significant role in Matlou's development - said she was "beyond excited" that Safa was acknowledging the player.