Malawi’s women football icon Tabitha Chawinga yesterday bagged a ‘hat-trick’ of awards during the Chinese annual awards gala.
Apart from the Chinese Golden Boot and Player of the Year Awards, the supremely gifted forward was also named the Best Player in Cup Tournaments.
Sounding excited in an interview from the Asian nation yesterday, Chawinga said: “I am very grateful to Almighty God and all those who played a part in my success during the 2018 season.
“I was expecting two awards—the Golden Boot and Best player—but honestly the third one came as a surprise.
“In total I have won four awards in 2018 and glory be to God because He is the one who guides me in everything that I do. I also want to recognise my team-mates and coaches for their support because without them, I would not have achieved all this.”
The Jiangsu Suning prolific forward also said she will not sit on her laurels, but keep her foot firmly on the gas pedal.
“I am looking forward to even a much better season in 2019 because I am inspired. People back home should expect even greater things this year.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said: “She deserves the best. In my opinion, she is worth African Player of the Year.
“She has done Malawi proud and her achievement underscores that Malawi has abundant talent in women’s football and all they need is support. Women football is underachieving due to lack of support. For all these years, women football has thrived without any sponsorship except with funding from FAM. Bravo Tabitha for being our shining star and beacon of hope.”
The Jiangsu Suning dead-eyed forward won the Golden Boot Award with 17 goals in her debut season in the Chinese women’s top-flight league.
Chawinga notched seven goals more than second-placed Oshoala in the just ended season.
The Chinese Super League is rated as one of the best women’s leagues in the world and has high-profile names such as Brazilian Cristiane Rozeira de Souza Silva, who is the highest paid player in the league and 2017 African Women Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala from Nigeria.
Chawinga has won the top scorer accolade four times in foreign leagues since 2014 when she made her debut with Swedish club Kvarnsveden IK. She won the award in her debut season and retained it the following year.
She also won it in 2017 with 25 goals despite her team being relegated and was also named Forward of the Year during the Swedish Football Awards ahead of the then World Player of the Year Lieke Martens. n