COSAFA to hold inaugural annual awards to honour football stars

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THE Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) are set to stage their inaugural annual awards that will honour players, coaches and various other stakeholders from the region.

The winners will be unveiled at a gala dinner on April 19, as the event will pay homage to the best performers, on and off the pitch, for 2023.

“COSAFA has long envisaged having our own awards ceremony to pay tribute to those who continue to shine a positive light on the game in our region,” COSAFA president Artur de Almeida e Silva said.

“Southern Africa has long been a leader on the continent for excellence and this is a way to highlight the achievements of not just players and coaches, but also those who lay the foundations for success with the hard work and dedication they put into the game.

“It is important that we celebrate our achievements and inspire the next generation of players, coaches, referees and administrators so that we can continue to grow the game in the region.”

The awards are open to all players and coaches from COSAFA’s 14-member associations, no matter where they ply their trade in the world.

Although they may have struggled to reclaim the trophy since their 4-2 triumph over Zambia in the 2018 final in Polokwane, Zimbabwe’s Warriors have had a huge say in the competition.

The Warriors, with six titles, are only second to rivals Zambia, who hold the record with seven.

Veteran mentor Sunday “Mhofu’’ Chidzambwa remains the most successful coach in the tournament, having won four titles — in 2003, 2009, 2017 and 2018.

Sunday’s late brother Misheck was the first to win the COSAFA Championship for Zimbabwe in 2000, while Charles Mhlauri emulated that feat in 2005.

Ex-Warriors skipper Peter Ndlovu is the country’s all-time leading scorer in the competition, having netted eight times.

He is also only second best for the tournament to Eswatini’s Felix Badenhorstm, who has nine.

Apart from honouring the players, coaches and match officials of the year, there will also be various lifetime achievement accolades that will be handed to those who have shaped football in the region over several decades.

Categories for the awards:

  • COSAFA Men’s Player of the Year
  • COSAFA Women’s Player of the Year
  • COSAFA Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year
  • COSAFA Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year
  • COSAFA Men’s Most Promising Player of the Year (aged 20 or under)
  • COSAFA Women’s Most Promising Player of the Year (aged 20 or under)
  • COSAFA Male Coach of the Year
  • COSAFA Female Coach of the Year
  • COSAFA Male Referee of the Year
  • COSAFA Female Referee of the Year

COSAFA member associations are, Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. — Sunday Mail/