Malawi women football export Tabitha Chawinga has won the golden boot accolade in the Chinese Women Premier League in her debut season with 17 goals.
She has notched seven goals more than her runner-up, Nigerian striker Asisat Oshoala, who is the reigning African Player of the Year. Oshoala plays for the league’s eventual champions Dalian Quanjian FC.
Tabitha did it in an extraordinary fashion after hitting a hat-trick within 45 minutes as her team, Jiangsu Sunning, beat Hebei 9-0 in their last league match on Saturday to get the runners-up slot, an improvement from last season’s fourth-place finish.
“I thank God for granting me this success, which I could not achieve on my own,” Chawinga said yesterday. “As a team, we started the league season on a poor note, but the Almighty helped us to rise to the top-two finish.”
This is the fourth time the 22-year-old striker has grabbed the top-scorer’s accolade in foreign leagues since 2014 when she made her professional football debut with Swedish club Kvarnsveden IK. She grabbed the award in 2014 before doing the same in 2015 and 2017.
In 2017, she won the golden boot in the Swedish top league with 25 goals despite her team being relegated to the second-tier league and she was named Forward of the Year during the Swedish Football Awards ahead of reigning World Player of the Year Lieke Martens.
National women football team coach Maggie Chombo-Sadik yesterday described Tabitha’s individual success as a predictable achievement.
“She is an extraordinary talent and it is no surprise that she has won the golden boot in her debut season in China. It feels great to hear such good news,” she said.
Tabitha’s younger sister, Temwa, is also making headlines with Kvarnsvedens IK in the Swedish second-tier league. She is the league’s second leading scorer with 20 goals from 24 matches, just a goal behind leading scorer Sandra Lagerbratt of Linkoping FC.