Four Malawian sports personalities have been shortlisted for the third edition of African Union Sports Council’s Region Five Annual Sports Awards scheduled for Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 26.
The four are Malawi under-20 national football team forward, Peter Banda, Fifa assistant referee, Bernadettar Kwimbira-Nzika, women’s football star, Tabitha Chawinga, and up-and-coming versatile coach Griffin Saenda Junior.
Banda will contest for the Sportsman of the Year accolade against seven others, including Zambia’s under-20 national team star, Patson Daka, while Chawinga is the only footballer in a shortlist of eight contestants vying for the Sportswoman of the Year award.
The shortlist has five contestants from athletics, one from chess and the other, a bodybuilder.
Saenda Junior, the Junior Flames Team Manager, Griffin Youngsters owner and Malawi’s netball Queens’ Fitness Trainer, will compete in the Coach of the Year category alongside football coaches Beston Chambeshi of Zambia and eSwatini’s Thabo Vilakati.
In the Sportsperson of the Year shortlist, prominent referee Kwimbira-Nzika faces competition from four others.
Two of the nominees, Karabo Sibanda (Botswana) and South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga, are from athletics, while one, Tony Tsabedze of eSwatini, is from football.
Zimbabwe’s Samson Muripo (karate), completes the shortlist.
There are no Malawians in the categories of Journalist of the Year, Sports Team of the Year, Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability, Sportsman of the Year with a Disability, Junior Sportswoman of the Year and Junior Sportsman of the Year.
Local facilitators, Malawi National Council of Sports’ Administration Manager, Henry Mereka, said he was confident that the Malawian nominees will perform well despite participating in the awards for the first time.
“Each one of our representatives has a very impressive track record. We believe that they will win for us,” Mereka said.
AUSC Region Five Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Mutoya, said the awards have grown bigger with nine member countries taking part in the third edition, as opposed to only five in 2016 inaugural event.
Malawi’s four nominees were picked from the inaugural Malawi Sports Awards which took place in Lilongwe in March.
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