Ellis chuffed with CAF nomination

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South Africa's Thembi Kgatlana is also a candidate for the Women’s Player of the Year prize.

The nomination for the national team accolade comes at the back of Banyana winning a fourth COSAFA Women’s Championship in September.

Banyana are vying for honours with Ghana U-20, Nigeria U-20, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Ellis said: “This is fantastic news. This is the second year in a row that we get a player nomination – last year it was Janine van Wyk – a real indication that this has been a team effort, and if the collective does well, then individuals will always stand out. We are proud that our efforts have been rewarded with this nomination and this can only make us work harder because we have set the bar very high for ourselves. We hope this time we bring it home as we believe it will serve as an inspiration to the current crop of players and those that will come after.

“A big thank you to SAFA, our proud sponsor Sasol, all the club coaches and players in the Sasol League and this shows we are all moving in the right direction.”

She also had high praise for Kgatlana.

“This is the best news that one of our players has been nominated for such a prestigious award, more so as it comes after she walked away with the Player of the Tournament accolade at the COSAFA Cup. We can only wish her all the best and we are confident she stands a good chance of winning it – this is well deserved, she has worked very hard for it and continues to do so with every match.”

Kgatla said: “I still cannot believe this. The CAF Women’s Player of the Year nomination came as a surprise to me, and I wasn’t even aware that the awards are coming up as I’m in the middle of studying for my year-end exams. But I am very grateful that my talent and hard work has not gone unnoticed – what is even more pleasing is that it is also recognised and appreciated, not only in the country, but outside South Africa as well. This will not have been achieved without the help and support of SAFA and Sasol, my teammates and the technical teams for both club and country – to all I say thank you, this nomination is for all of us.

“As for the Banyana Banyana nomination, I am not surprised because this team deserves everything coming their way because of the hard work they put in, which resulted in us regaining the COSAFA Cup after we defeated the hosts. I am hopeful that it will be our name that is called out on the night, and good luck to all of us.”

Kgatlana will battle it out against Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria and Dalian Quanjian), Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Cameroon and CSKA Moscow), Rutendo Makore (Zimbabwe and Black Rhinos) and Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi and Kvarnsvedens).

The winners will be announced on Thursday, 4 January 2018 in Accra, Ghana. CAF officials and media representatives will decide the victors by a vote.