Cosafa Women’s champs – it’s worth looking back some of the stars of previous editions of the tournament.
JOHANNESBURG – AS THE 2021 Council of Southern African Football Associations Women’s Championship draws closer to its September 15 start in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, it’s worth looking back some of the stars of previous editions of the tournament.
Zambia’s Barbra Banda is only 21-years-old but has already left her mark on the Cosafa Women’s Championship in recent years, which helped her win a contract with Spanish side EdF Logroño and more recently Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Shengli.
Banda made her national team debut in 2016 and the following year played the regional showpiece Cosafa Women’s Championship in Zimbabwe, where Zambia topped their first-round pool.
She netted six goals in the competition, including in every game Zambia played, as they finished third and took the bronze medal.
Banda kept up her scoring form with two more goals in 2018 as the Shepolopolo again made the semi-finals, but this time finished fourth. Club commitments meant she was absent in 2019, but she returned in 2020 and netted a hat-trick against Lesotho but could not help Zambia past the semi-finals.
The young Malawian sensation Tabitha Chawinga is another of the top players from the Southern Africa region and plies her trade in China with Wuhan Jianghan, alongside sister Temwa, who is also a prolific scorer with the national side.
At 25, she has also played in Sweden and finished as the Golden Boot winner in that country in 2015.
Chawinga shone at the 2017 Cosafa Women’s Championship when she scored a hat-trick against Zambia, four goals in a win over Madagascar and another two goals in a Zimbabwe in a remarkable personal haul of nine goals in three games.
Rutendo Makore has been a leading light for the Zimbabwe side in recent years, including guiding the team to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
She top-scored at the 2017 Cosafa Women’s Championship with 10 goals, including four against Madagascar and three versus Malawi. She netted as well in the final against South Africa, but could not avoid a 2-1 defeat for the Mighty Warriors.
Noko Matlou rose to regional fame in the 2008 Cosafa Women’s Championship finals when she netted 12 goals to take South Africa to the title.
She added to her 2008 Cosafa title with wins in 2017, 2018 and 2019 for Banyana, and remains a key part of the national team though she missed out on the 2020 tournament.
Racheal Nachula, the former sprinter-turned-footballer, uses all of her pace to outstrip defenders and is a prolific scorer for the Zambia national side.
Nachula netted 10 times in 2019 on her way to helping the Shepolopolo to the silver medal, and proved the most lethal forward on display in the competition.
Zenatha Coleman has been a regular for Namibia at the Cosafa Women’s Championship down the years, and is one of the most accomplished footballers to have come out of the southern African region.
The midfielder recently signed a new two-year contract with Spanish side Sevilla, having also previously turned out for Zaragoza and Valencia in that country, as well as Gintra Universitetas in Lithuania.
She is very much the heart-beat of the Namibia side and showed that in 2019 when her five goals made her among the leading scorers in the competition.
Veronica Phewa holds the record for the most goals in a single Cosafa Women’s Championship when she scored an incredible 15 in the 2002 finals for South Africa.
That included eight goals in the 14-0 win over Botswana, and another four as Banyana Banyana beat Mozambique 13-0.
Phewa netted in every game that year as Banyana beat Zimbabwe 2-1 in the final, as she opened the scoring in the first half of the decider.
She scored two more times in the 2006 finals as South Africa retained their title, and had an excellent club career in England, the United States and Ukraine.
African News Agency (ANA)