Pitso, Bil­liat, Onyango hot favourites

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - NJABULO NGIDI

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.

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