Sports

Tabitha Chawinga’s miss out divides opinion

By Isaac Salima:

Some soccer experts in the country have expressed differing views on the missing out of She-Flames striker, Tabitha Chawinga, on Confederation of African Football (Caf) African Women Player of the Year award.

Nigeria’s Asissat Oshoola was last Tuesday named 2019 Women Africa player of the year.

But some analysts believe the She-Flames captain, who plies her trade for Chinese Women Football League side, Jiangsu Suning, deserved the award.

The development comes after a Nigerian journalist, Osasu Obayiuwana, preferred the Malawian through his tweet.

“Congratulations to her [Oshoola] on yet another title. But in my opinion, Tabitha Chawinga, is the best woman footballer in Africa bar none. The only reason she is not winning the Afoty title is because she is Malawian. And they don’t play in the Caf and Awcon,” the tweet read.

Another also responded in Chawinga’s favour: “After checking her out, I can say it seems you are right. Her records are amazing, unfortunately she can’t change her nationality.”

Times Group’s seasoned sports analyst, Peter Kanjere, said Chawinga is far much better than Oshoala who now plays for Barcelona.

“Chawinga has scored more goals in the same Chinese league per season than Oshoala and the previous Caf Women’s player of the year Thembi [Kgatlana]. In 2018, Tabitha scored 17 goals and Oshoala 15 in the Chinese league. In 2019, Tabitha scored 12 goals and the then Caf player of the year Thembi Kgatlana scored six. All this tells you that the Malawian is pound for pound far much better than the reigning award winner and her predecessor Thembi,” Kanjere said.

Kanjere further said that if indeed fair play is real in football, Tabitha should be rated based on her individual brilliance and not based on the underperformance of her national team.

Blantyre Synod Radio analyst, Christy Gomani, said Oshoala only rode on the back of her country’s achievements.

“I think these awards are just opinions not reality on the ground. I agree with those who think that if Tabitha was not from Malawi she could have easily won the award,” Gomani said.

Chanco Community Radio’s, Raymond Siyaya, said Tabitha can easily win the award if she joins clubs from other well-known countries like France.

“Individual brilliance is easy to notice when one is playing in a well-known team. I bet if George Weah were not playing in Italy and was playing in Liberia, he wouldn’t have won the world player of the year award,” Siyaya said.

Chawinga was shortlisted for the award which comprised 10 top women’s footballers in Africa.

Most soccer fanatics feel that Chawinga could have won the award basing on what she has achieved in 2019 alone. Among others China’s online football publication The Offside Rule named Chawinga the deadliest striker in China after placing her on position 95 out of the top 100 players with 58 points.

In 2019 season alone Chawinga managed to win four cups with her team Suning.

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