3 January 2018 – The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana duo of Noko Matlou and Thembi Kgatlana are off to Accra, Ghana for the prestigious Aiteo CAF Awards 2017.
Matlou has been invited as the 2008 CAF African Women Football of the Year Award winner, while Kgatlana is a nominee in the same category for 2017.
The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, 4 January 2018 at Accra Convention Centre.
Matlou made history when she became the first South African to clinch the award back in 2008, beating off the challenge of Genevova Anonma (Equatorial Guinea) and Ngo Ndoumbouk Marlyse (Cameroon) to win the award in Lagos, Nigeria.
The South African defender, who was playing as a striker at the time, was the star at the 2008 African Women’s Championship, where she finished joint top-scorer with Anonma with six goals.
It is hoped Kgatlana will follow in her footsteps, after a magnificent tournament at the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship held recently in September in Zimbabwe where she was named Player of the Tournament.
Kgatlana has subsequently won other awards – Player of the Year at the SAFA Cape Town Awards; Sports Person of the Year at the University of Western Cape, among others.
She will go toe to toe against Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria) and Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Cameroon) for the award.
The Banyana Banyana duo will travel along with Truman Prins, National Executive Committee member of the South African Football Association (SAFA).
The Senior Women’s National Team has been nominated in the category of Women’s National Team of the Year, following an outstanding display which saw them win the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship – their fourth title in the competition.
Banyana Banyana are up against the national teams of Ghana U20 and Nigeria U20 for the award.
In the men’s section, Egyptian Mohamed Salah, Gabon’s Aubameyang and Sadio Mane of Senegal are the contenders for the prestigious African Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, the capital of Ghana, Accra is abuzz and bracing up for unarguably the biggest football gathering of the new year, Aiteo CAF Awards 2017.
The Awards Gala that will see the decoration of players, officials and administrators for their achievement in 2017.Stakeholders of the game are looking forward to the event as nominees and legends flock the Ghanaian capital for the much awaited event.
From Abedi Pele, winner of the maiden edition in 1992 through to Riyad Mahrez, crowned in 2016, the winners who represent various generations will be given prominence at the ceremony designed to celebrate the key players of African football.
Others are Nigerian trio, Emmanuel Amuneke, Nwankwo Kanu and Victor Ikpeba, Cameroonian and four-time winner, Samuel Eto’o Fils and compatriot Patrick Mboma, Ivorian Yaya Toure, a four-time winner and countryman Didier Drogba and El Hadji Diouf of Senegal.
The rest are Mustapha Hadji of Morocco, Malian Frederic Kanoute, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Togolese Emmanuel Adebayor.
Also, the women are not left out as previous Queens of African football are also penciled for the biggest assemblage of football stakeholders.
The list of invitees is not only limited to previous winners, but also to other players and officials whose contribution towards the progress of African football cannot be overlooked.