The HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Women’s Championship is a chance to showcase the incredible talent in the Southern African region by providing players with the platform to display their skill and perhaps move on to bigger things.
It is certainly a competition that has met its aim and when the 2023 edition is staged from October 4-15, we will see more stars born and the next generation of talent come to the fore.
We take a look back at the last five footballers to have won Player of the Tournament and where they are now in their careers.
GENEVIEVE NGO (CAMEROON)
Cameroon were guests for the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay and brought their array of stars, which included brilliant midfielder Ngo.
They reached the final but came unstuck against South Africa in a thrilling contest that will live long in the memory for the quality of the football on display from both sides.
She has continued to shine and in 2020/21 was named the best player in the Israeli league, where she played for Maccabi Kiryat-Gat.
The 30-year-old led the team to the league and cup double and was recognised for her efforts, having also been the leading scorer for them. More latterly she has moved to Turkey to play for Fenerbahce.
HELLEN MUBANGA (ZAMBIA)
Zambia’s search for a first COSAFA Women’s Championship title was a long one before their victory in 2022 and they came mighty close in 2019 when they were edged 1-0 by South Africa in the final in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Mubanga contributed three goals to that cause, but it was her creativity that shone through as she laid chances on a plate for the likes of 10-goal hero Racheal Nachula.
After that she went on to play in Spain for Zaragoza, and was part of the Zambian side that shone at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
She suffered a knee injury that kept her out for a long period, but she went to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and played in the 3-1 victory over Costa Rica.
HILDAH MAGAIA (SOUTH AFRICA)
Magaia scored four goals at the 2020 COSAFA Women’s Championship as South Africa claimed a fourth title in succession, but was also at the heart of all the good work from the hosts.
She led the forward line superbly and proved a handful for all defences, creating opportunities for others with her intelligence and skill.
That performance won her a move to Moron in Sweden, where she excelled with 12 goals in 19 starts last season. She now plays for Sejong Sportstoto in South Korea.
Her two goals in the final of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations won the title for South Africa as they beat Morocco and showed what a clinical finisher she is.
She also scored against Sweden and Italy at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
AMINA BILALI (TANZANIA)
Bilali was a talismanic figure for Tanzania as they claimed the COSAFA WOMEN’S Championship crown in 2021, and was behind all the good work of her side as they romped to the title.
She has continued to be a leading figure for the team and captains the side, as well as being a leading player for Yanga Princesses, where she was named Women’s Premier League Player of the Year in 2021.
She has since joined JKT Queens and continues to be a big influence for club and country.
BARBRA BANDA (ZAMBIA)
It was tough to look past forward Banda for Player of the Tournament in 2022 after her 10 goals in the tournament guided Zambia to their maiden win.
She is one of the best strikers on the continent and after netting two hattricks at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, scored a brace when the Copper Queens picked up their first FIFA Women’s World Cup win with a 3-1 success against Costa Rica Down Under.
She scored the winner against South Africa in the 2022 COSAFA Women’s Championship decider and at the age of only 23, has many years ahead of her to build her legend further.
She plays her club football in China for Shanghai Shenglig.