Head coach of the South African u20 Men’s National Team, Thabo Senong, has won the Coach of the Year Award at the 2016 Limpopo Sport and Recreation Awards.

Head coach of the South African u20 Men’s National Team, Thabo Senong, has won the Coach of the Year Award at the 2016 Limpopo Sport and Recreation Awards.

The event took place on Saturday night (17 September 2016) in Polokwane.

The aim of the awards is to recognise and reward sports people from the Limpopo Province.

For the Coach of the Year Award, the organisers looked at the improvement on the success record of the Amajita (South African u20 Men’s National Team) qualifying for the 2017 Africa u20 Cup of Nations – this is the 20th edition of the biennial international youth football tournament which will take place in Zambia from 26 February to 12 March 2017.

The top four teams will qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in South Korea between 20 May and 11 June 2017.

Senong won because of his passion for Community Service Beyond Coaching responsibilities – this includes scouting in far-flung villages, which host tournaments during the school holidays in and around the Limpopo Province.

The Bafana Bafana assistant coach holds coaching qualifications in Level 1, 2, 3 as well as CAF A and B Licenses.

He also mentors other coaches like being part of the SAB-level coaching education programs. He was also honoured for being the assistant coach of the South African u23 National Team that qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and was also on the bench as an assistant when Bafana Bafana qualified for the 2015 Equatorial Guinea Africa Cup of Nations Tournament.

He beat two other finalists to the award – Douggie Eagar (swimming coach) and Mehloti Shiwabane.

This is Senong’s first ever-coaching award, and he was humbled by the gesture.

“I am very excited and proud of this achievement, and, if truth be told, I didn’t even expect to be nominated. It is my first award as a coach, and I am very humbled to be recognised by my people and leaders in Limpopo. I am very committed to scouting and coaching, that is my passion,” said Senong after receiving the award.

“Amajita is doing well at the moment and I am glad that people have taken notice to the good job we are doing as coaches. I am still a student of the game, and I have already learnt so much from working in the u23 and Bafana Bafana set-up. It has been a good year all round. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank SAFA and my mentor Ephraim Shakes Mashaba for giving me a platform to express my passion and talent.”

Senong is from Motlolo Village in Sekhukhune but is now based in Johannesburg.

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