Four Malawian sports personalities stand a chance of winning prestigious individual awards at the Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 third edition of the Regional Association of Sports Awards (RASA 2018), scheduled to take place on 26 May, 2018 at Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The four nominees are all drawn from football.
They are FIFA assistant referee Bernadette Kwimbira Nzika, Malawi Women’s National Football team captain Tabitha Chawinga, Griffin Young stars coach and owner Griffin Sayenda Jnr and his striker cum nephew, Peter Banda.
The quartet makes the list to compete against other African stars after winning an award each at the inaugural Malawi Sport Awards held in March this year.
Kwimbira who was the biggest winner after being voted Sportsperson of the year competes in a similar category along with Karabo Sibanda (Botswana), Luvo Manyonga, (South Africa), Tony Tsabedze(Swaziland) and Samson Muripo of Zimbabwe.
Chawinga who is Malawi’s finest female footballer, currently playing in China is in line for the Sportswoman of the year award, an accolade she bagged locally.
Chawinga faces competition from Onkemetse Francis from Botswana, Neheng Khatala of Lesotho, Helalia Johannes from Namibia, South Africa’s Caster Semenya, Phumlile Ndzinisa from the Kingdom eSwatini, Mupopo Kabange of Zambia and Zimbabwe’s Helen Costa Sinclair.
Banda who is currently on trials at South African football powerhouse Orlando Pirates will battle six others for the Sportsman of the year award.
The under 20 forward’s competitors are Ofentse Bakwadi of Botswana, Julius Indongo from Namibia, South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga, Sibusiso Matsenjwa from Kingdom eSwatini, Zambia’s Patson Daka, and Elford Moyo of Zimbabwe.
His coach and uncle, Sayenda Jnr who is also team manager for the Flames under 20 and Trainer for the National Netball Team is in the category of Coach of the year, which he locally won in March.
Also eyeing the same gong are Mogomotsi Otsetswe of Botswana, Namibia’s Nestor Tobias, Jean Verster of South Africa, Thabo Vilakati from Kingdom eSwatini, and Beston Chambeshi of Zambia.
Reacting to his nomination, Sayenda Jnr was grateful to God for the recognition and described the nomination as a motivational factor.
“In all I do, I look up to God, who has done it all for me, so I thank him for this. It’s so delightful for a young coach like me to be considered for such an award and this will encourage me to work even harder this season.”
Despite going against some of Southern Africa’s renowned names, Sayenda remains confident of bringing the award home.
“If God is on my side, nobody can be against. Some people didn’t give me a chance to win the same award locally but I made it, so this time am not moved at all. Those other coaches on the list have done well in their respective countries to get the nomination, and I have also done my part here, so I am confident of winning it,” he said.
The four categories mentioned above are just among the ten enlisted for the awards later this month.
The African Union Sport Council Region5 (AUSC Region5) is the sports arm of the African Union, which was once the Organisation of African Unity. It was formed in the 1960s, and its headquarters is based in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The main aim of the AUSC is to use sports to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa irrespective of colour, economic status, political, class, or gender.
The AUSC is divided Africa into seven competition zones due to the vastness of the continent and for financial prudence.
The main consideration was the countries’ geographical positions. It is from this that AUSC Region was born.
Members of the Region comprise of: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The AUSC Region 5 is the Continent’s most organized Region and a trailblazer in implementing sports programmes and activities.