Tough choice for COSAFA Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year Award

Goals win games, they say, but goalkeepers can be match-winners too and through history top sides have generally had an excellent and reliable ‘number one’ between the sticks.

It goes well beyond just saving shots, a keeper needs to be an excellent communicator and organiser, be able to read the play and anticipate danger, and be brave under fight, both from the ball and opponents.

The three players who have been nominated for Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year at the inaugural COSAFA Awards on May 9 have all proven they have those attributes and would be worthy winners in their own right.

The trio who have been nominated for Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year will learn of they are the overall winner at the inaugural COSAFA Awards that are to be staged at the Sandton Convention Centre on May 9.

Chippa United and Namibia gloveman Lloyd Kazapua played a big role in helping Namibia to their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification, especially in the two fixtures against Cameroon in March 2023 when he was rock solid.

He only conceded three goals in the five national team matches he played through the year and was the first choice at Chippa United the season before but then gave up the number one jersey to Nigerian Stanley Nwabali.

He continues to be a key man for the Brave Warriors though and has been able to use all his experience to help them to greater heights.

Power Dynamos and Zambia stopper Lawrence Mulenga helped his club to their first league title in the MTN Super League in 12 years as they only conceded 19 goals in 34 games through the campaign.

He also played a prominent role for Zambia in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification, which included a thumping 3-0 win over Ivory Coast in which he kept a clean sheet.

He also represented Dynamos in the CAF Champions League in a stellar season for the 27-year-old.

Ronwen Williams is the undisputed number one for Mamelodi Sundowns and South Africa and was prominent for Bafana Bafana in helping them qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Now at the peak of his powers, he is among the leading glovemen in Africa with vast experience in the game. He is also the captain of South Africa.

He also played a major part in Sundowns’ domestic league and African Football League success in 2023. Williams kept 32 clean sheets in 49 appearances for Sundowns last year.

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).