Southern Times Writer
Johannesburg – Scoring the most goals in a major tournament is a huge achievement for any football player, and the upcoming 2021 Cosafa Women’s Championships will not be an exception.
While the focus at South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Bay from September 28 to October 9 will be on who will be crowned champions among the 12 participating national teams from Southern Africa, a potentially intriguing subplot will be the race to win the Golden Boot.
The Southern Times Sport looks at some of the previous Cosafa Women’s Championship top scorers and how their prolific finishing in front of goal secured them a spot in the history books.
The 12 goals scored by retired South African forward Noko Matlou in 2008 remain a standard yet to be equalled or surpassed by anyone in the tournament.
Matlou’s achievement came at the peak of her career, during a year that also saw her winning the 2008 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Women’s Footballer of the Year accolade.
In 2011, Zimbabwe’s Rufaro Machingura emerged the Cosafa Women’s Championship top scorer with eight goals to her name. One of the outstanding players of the tournament that year, Machingura sealed an impressive performance with the solitary strike that powered Zimbabwe to a 1–0 win over South Africa in the final.
Another Zimbabwean player, Rutendo Makore, won the golden boot in 2017 after rattling the back of the net 10 times. However, her abilities were not enough to help her side avoid a 1–2 loss at the hands of South Africa in the finals.
At the 2018 showcase, Linda Matlhalo emerged the leading scorer with four goals. The South African midfielder scored a hattrick during her team’s 6–0 victory over Malawi.
Her other goal in the 2–0 win over Uganda helped South Africa to reach the finals of what turned out to be a low-scoring tournament.
Like Makore, Rachael Nachula of Zambia also came close to equalling Matlou’s record when she emerged top scorer of the 2019 championships with 10 goals.
In 2020, South Africa’s Sibulele Holweni’s eight goals were a major talking point of the tournament. The young striker – who will be one of the favourites to win the golden boot race once again this year – scored against Swaziland, Comoros, Malawi and Botswana to help her side to lift the title.
The prolific finisher will be among one of the players to look out for during this year’s race for the golden boot.