Banyana's Kgatlana and Ellis win big at Caf Awards
Banyana Banyana star Thembi Kgatlana won Women's Player of the Year and Goal of the Year, while coach Desiree Ellis won Coach of the Year at the Caf Awards in Dakar, Senegal on Tuesday night.
Banyana's 22-year-old emerging global superstar Kgatlana top scored for losing finalists South Africa at the African Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) in Ghana with five goals.
She beat off the challenges from the Nigerian duo of Asisat Oshoala and Francisca Ordega for Player of the Year.
Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, as expected, won Men's Player of the Year.
Banyana – who won the Cosafa Cup and were losing finalists on penalties against now 11-time winners Nigeria in the Awcon in 2018, qualifying for this year's World Cup in France – were the big winners on the night with three Confederation of African Football (Caf) awards.
They only missed out as nominees for the Team of the Year award they won for 2017, which was taken by Nigeria.
Kgatlana won Goal of the Year for her stunning winner against Nigeria in Banyana’s 1-0 opening group stage win at the Awcon.
“I'm honoured and privileged to receive this award in this beautiful hall of legends,” she said receiving her award.
“I would like to dedicate this award to all the women’s players in South Africa who are about to start their career, and all the girls who want to become champions.”
Ellis was nominated having steered Banyana to the Cosafa Cup and 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup qualification with a top three place at the Awcon.
Mamelodi Sundowns’ Ugandan international Denis Onyango was the goalkeeper in Caf’s Best African XI.
Morocco coach Herve Renard won Men’s Coach of the Year. He dedicated his award to late French compatriot Bruno Metsu, who guided Senegal to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals.
Caf Awards 2018
Women's National Team of the Year: Nigeria
Men's National Team of the Year: Mauritania
Women's Coach of the Year: Desiree Ellis (South Africa)
Men's Coach of the Year: Herve Renard (Morocco)
Best National Federation of the Year: Morocco
Youth Player of the Year: Achraf Hakimi (Morocco and Borussia Dortmund)
Goal of the Year: Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa)
Women's Player of the Year: Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa)
Men's Player of the Year: Mohamed Salah (Egypt and Liverpool)