By Ronald Mpaso:
Tabitha’s name does not appear on Confederation of African Football’s final list of three names to be considered for the accolade during a ceremony to take place on Tuesday.
The sensational striker was nominated for the award after scoring 17 goals during her debut season in China to win the Golden Boot Award.
She made it into the final list of nominees for the second consecutive but just like during the 2017 awards, the Malawian will not be in the running for the ultimate reward.
Football analyst Stewart Mbolembole, who has also coached Tabitha at national team level, said it is possible that the She-Flames skipper has been omitted from the list of three because Malawi has never qualified for the women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
“There is no doubt that Tabitha is among the best in Africa. But Malawi’s failure to play at continental level puts her at a disadvantage. She would have easily won the award if our team played at continental level,” Mbolembole said.
He said Tabitha’s omission should serve as a lesson to football authorities in the country to value continental competitions to help the country’s women footballers get the recognition they deserve.
According to Cafonline, the Nigerian duo of Asisat Oshoala and Francisca Ordega, and South Africa’s Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana have made the final three.
“The three made the cut after a performance-filled year which saw them make headlines at both club and national levels. Oshoala, winner for the past two years with three titles overall (2014, 2016, 2017) has her sights on a fourth title, to equal the feat of compatriot Perpetual Nkwocha (2004, 2005, 2010, 2011).
“The 24-year old helped Nigeria to successively defend their title during the Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Ghana last December. Talking of Nigeria, and Ordega earned herself cult status following her exploits at the AWCON and in the USA, where plies her trade with Washington Spirit.
“The 25-year old wowed fans with her pacy runs from the wings as Nigeria cruised to the title.
South African forward Kgatlana, 22, was the star of the last AWCON, scooping the Most Valuable Player and Top scorer accolades as Banyana Banyana reached the final. Her second nomination at this level and hoping to become the second South African after Noko Matlou (2008) to be crowned ‘Queen’ of African football,” reads the Cafonline report.
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