Pitso, Billiat, Onyango hot favourites
NOKO MATLOU, who cuts a lonely South African figure in the list of CAF awards recipient, should be joined by some company after tonight’s ceremony in Abuja.
The former Banyana Banyana striker, who has been converted to a defender, reigned supreme in 2008 to walk away with the Women’s Player of the Year award. She has had to wait for close to a decade to see another South African join her in the illustrious list of individuals who have become King and Queens of the continent.
For a change, the country has six nominations in the CAF awards with three of them – Khama Billiat, Pitso Mosimane and Mamelodi Sundowns – favourites in their category. The Zimbabwean forward leads the race in the Footballer of the Year – Based in Africa category. Billiat is joined by his Sundowns teammate, Denis Onyango, and TP Mazembe’s Rainford Kalaba. Billiat should win the award because of what he did last year for his country, taking Zimbabwe to their first Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) appearance in over a decade as well as helping Sundowns win the CAF Champions League.
The Brazilians’ coach, Mosimane, could be crowned Africa’s Coach of the Year. That would make him the first South African coach to capture that award. Making history is nothing new to “Jingles”. He is the first South African coach to win all domestic competitions. That success makes him the favourite to scoop the award ahead of Florent Ibenge, Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, Nacer Sandjak and Florence Omagbemi who guided Nigeria to winning the Africa Women cup of Nations (AWC).
Janine van Wyk and the national team, she captains still did enough to be nominated even though winning their categories is unlikely.