Top tacticians nominated for COSAFA Women’s Coach of the Year

Coaches are measured on results and little else, the ability to get their teams into major competitions and lift trophies. Style of football is nice, but worthless if it does not bring success.

When assessing who have been the top coaches of women’s teams in the Southern African region in 2023, we can look at both club and international football, and the impact the tacticians have had for their sides.

The final three nominees for the 2023 COSAFA Women’s Coach of the Year award have all had an excellent 12 months and enhanced not only their own reputation, but that of the team they manage.

Desiree Ellis of South Africa was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Cape Peninsula University of Technology for her services to the game and led Banyana Banyana to a historic round of 16 place at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. That included an epic 3-2 victory over Italy.

She has also qualified them for the defence of their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title that they won in 2022, though the dates for those finals have yet to be set.

In all, it was a successful 12 months for Ellis and the team as they made plenty of people sit up and take notice at the global finals.

Bruce Mwape guided Zambia at their first ever Women’s World Cup and although they lost their first two games 5-0, they bounced back with a historic 3-1 win over Costa Rica in their final match.

It was important to end on a high and though they did not make the round of 16, it was a promising start for the Copper Queens.

He also led them to qualification for the next Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and to the final round of qualifiers for the Olympic Games in Paris later this year. They ultimately booked a place at that showpiece event, but that achievement cannot count towards 2023’s award as it fell outside of the time period.

Jerry Tshabalala led Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies to the finals of the CAF Women’s Champions League and clinched the 2023 continental title by winning all their matches in the Ivory Coast without conceding a single goal.

Tshabalala took Sundowns to the ‘Treble’ in 2023 with victory in the COSAFA Women’s Champions League and in their domestic Super League, creating no doubt over who is the best club side on the continent.

All this was done playing a flowing brand of football and conceding just a single goal across the two Champions League competitions.

The winner will be announced at a gala awards ceremony in Johannesburg on May 9, with a panel of judges from across the region having assessed their performances for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2023.

The judging panel from across the 14 member nations that make up COSAFA are renowned for their knowledge of Southern African football and are as follows:

Houssamidine Ben Ahmed (Comoros), Ivan Capuepue (Angola), Rob Delport (South Africa), Gerard Govinden (Seychelles), Peter Kanjere (Malawi), Jesse Kauraisa (Namibia), Kagiso Kgaogano (Botswana), Sibusiso Masilela (Eswatini), Sandra Mwila (Zambia), Boitelo Radebe (Lesotho), Heriniaina Samson (Madagascar), Benoit Thomas (Mauritius), Steve Vickers (Zimbabwe) and Raimundo Zandamela (Mozambique).