China-based women’s footballer Tabitha Chawinga has missed out on the three shortlist of Africa Footballer of the Year Award.
The Malawi national team captain made it to the top five list alongside Nigerian Osisat Oshiala, Cameroonians Ajara Nchout Njoya and Gabrielle Onguene and South African Thembi Katlana for the first time as she twice made it into the top 10.
But Tabitha has been dropped with Cameroon’s Gabrielle Onguene, according to Confederation of African Football (CAF) which released the list on Sunday.
Reacting to the development yesterday, the Jiangsu Suning star played it down, saying the shortlisting alone is worth cherishing.
“I am still lost for words to describe my excitement when I made it to the top five news. It shows my talent is being appreciated on the continent and I thank the Almighty for giving me this talent,” she said.
National Women’s Football Association chairperson Suzgo Ngwira said although it is disappointing, her shortlisting among the best African players has done the country proud.
“As a country, she is our ambassador. However, all is not lost. The mere fact that she was nominated, proves that she has got all what it takes to become number one not only in Africa, but the whole world,” she said.
Football analyst Kevin Moyo attributed her failure to the national team performance.
“First and foremost, Tabitha should be commended for raising the bar in as far as our nation is concerned as regards women football. But on the African continent Malawi is not a household name; hence, her failure to make the grade in top three,” he said.
The rest of the shortlisted players are coming from countries that are doing well on the continent.
Meanwhile, in the men’s category, Algeria’s Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez joined Liverpool duo Sadio Mane of Senegal and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah on the list.
Mane and Salah have just helped Liverpool win the Fifa Club World Cup. Salah is in contention to win the prize for a third successive time.
Mahrez captained Algeria to Nations Cup success in Egypt in 2019 while Mane inspired Senegal to reach the final.