Nigeria’s duo of Asisat Oshoala and Francesca Ordega may lose out on the 2018 African Woman Footballer of The Year award, next Tuesday in Dakar, Senegal, as footballlive.ng can report that many soccer pundits are rating them behind South Africa’s Chrestinah Kgatlana.
Although Oshoala is the current award holder and three-time winner, while Ordega dazzled at the last African Women Cup of Nations in Ghana, Kgatlana was that competition’s most valuable player and top goals scorer, such that pundits tip her to become the second South African to be voted best, after Noko Matlou in 2008.
However, while being tipped to emerge tops on Tuesday, Kgatlana, who plays for Houston Dash of USA, says was truly surprised to win the MVP and top scorer awards at the 2018 AWCON in Ghana.
Kgatlana scored in all group matches for Banyana Banyana, including the winner in their opening game against Nigeria, to finish as top scorer with five goals and, after dazzling in the final, she also got the best player gong.
The 22-year-old, whose strike against Mali sent Banyana to their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup, said she will continue to remember the awesome memories of 2018.
Having finished behind Oshoala in the Africa Women Player of the Year 2017 race, Kgatlana says that was part of the motivation behind her top form of 2018 and breathtaking performances.
Kgatlana acknowledged: “I think losing the African Women Player of the Year award 2017 also did inspire me to do well in Ghana.
“I told myself that I played well in 2017 but we lose some and win others.
“I continued working hard, not only to make the CAF awards, but to really grow personally as a player.
“It was my first as a professional player and I have seen a lot of positive things. I think that this time around I was more hungry.
“The hunger that I had, I kept it for this tournament. I couldn’t get a lot of playing time at my club.
“Before the tournament, I said to myself, why won’t I use the AWCON to prove my worth because there, I will get a game time and help the team to qualify for the World Cup.
“Truly speaking, I never saw this coming. I just came to this tournament to enjoy but most importantly, I am very proud that South Africa after 20 years managed to qualify for the Women’s World Cup.
“We’ve always been a threat at the Africa Women Cup of Nations, playing good football and create chances but this year, people were amazed to see that South Africa went beyond measures.
“Being a professional player really help me because I get to play week in week out, train every day and be competitive and when I come back to the national team.
“It helps me and grows my confidence as a player that whatever I learn from my club and I can give back to my country.”