By Bakang Mhaladi
Gaborone -The annual African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 awards have attracted the region’s top stars after nominees for the awards to be held in Johannesburg on May 26 were released.
Among prominent nominees are Benston Chambeshi, the Zambian coach who led the Under-20 Chipolopolo to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, Botswana’s Karabo Sibanda, a finalist at the Rio2016 Olympic Games and Zimbabwe’s karateka, Samson Muripo.
Muripo, Sibanda and South African long and triple jumper, Luvo Manyonga lead the nominations, with two each.
Muripo and Manyonga each have two nominations, in the Sportsman and Sportsperson of the Year awards, while Sibanda features in the Sportsperson and Junior Sportsman awards.
Veteran footballer, Tony Tsabedze from eSwatini is also among Sportsperson of the Year nominees.
A close contest is expected in the Sports Team of the Year where Botswana’s 4x400m relay team, Zambia’s Under-20 team, South Africa’s Springboks Sevens side and Zimbabwe’s Rugby Sevens, are in contention.
Also among nominees is Sihlangu Semnikati, eSwatini’s football team and Namibia’s Under-20 rugby side.
In the Junior Sportsman of the Year, Sibanda will battle with Lesotho’s chess player, Teboho Lelimo, Thandolwethu Motsa of taekwondo from eSwatini, Namibian kickboxer, Delano Muller, and athlete, Kennedy Luchmbe of Zambia.
Caster Semenya is favoured to walk away with the Sports Woman of the Year gong, where she faces seven other nominees who include chess’ Woman Fide Master, Onkemetse Francis of Botswana, bodybuilder, Helen Costa Sinclair from Zimbabwe, and Malawian footballer, Tabitha Chawinga
Chambeshi is favourite to win the Coach of the Year award, where he is up against Mogomotsi Otsetswe, the Botswana athletics coach who has groomed the likes of Isaac Makwala, Nijel Amos and Amantle Montsho.
There is also Griffin Saenda Junior of Malawi, boxing coach, Nestor Tobias from Namibia, South African athletics coach, Jean Verset, and soccer coach, Thabo Vilakati from Swaziland.
Full list of nominees:
Junior Sportsman of the Year
1. Teboho Lelimo, Chess, Lesotho
2. Thandolwethu Motsa, Taekwondo, Kingdom of eSwatini
3. Delano Muller, Kickboxing, Namibia
4. Karabo Sibanda, Athletics, Botswana
5. Kennedy Luchembe, Athletics, Zambia
Junior Sportswoman of the Year
1. Tshegofatso Tsiang Tennis, Botswana
2. ‘Malillo Phera, Chess, Lesotho
3. Charlize Van Zyl, Gymnastics Namibia
4. Carlota Munave, Taekwondo, Kingdom of eSwatini
5. Lubuuto Bwalya, Chess, Zambia
6. Tanyaradzwa Muzinda, Motorcross, Zimbabwe
Sportsman of the Year
1. Ofentse Bakwadi, Karate, Botswana
2. Peter Banda, Football, Malawi
3. Julius Indongo, Boxing, Namibia
4. Luvo Manyonga, Athletics South Africa
5. Sibusiso Matsenjwa, Athletics, Kingdom of eSwatini
6. Patson Daka, Football Zambia
7. Samson Muripo, Karate, Zimbabwe
Sportswoman of the Year
1. Onkemetse Francis, Chess, Botswana
2. Neheng Khatala, Athletics, Lesotho
3. Tabitha Chawinga, Football, Malawi
4. Helalia Johannes, Athletics, Namibia
5. Caster Semenya, Athletics, South Africa
6. Phumlile Ndzinisa, Athletics, Kingdom of eSwatini
7. Mupopo Kabange, Athletics, Zambia
8. Helen Costa Sinclair, Bodybuilding, Zimbabwe
Sportsman of the year with a Disability
1. Keatlaretse Mabote, Athletics, Botswana
2. Johannes Nambala, Athletics, Namibia
3. Dyan Buis, Athletics, South Africa
4. Mcebo Dludlu, Athletics, Kingdom of eSwatini
5. Elford Moyo, Wheelchair racing, Zimbabwe
Sportswoman of the year with a Disability
1. Nonofo Zingwa, Special Olympics, Botswana
2. Lahja Ishitile, Athletics, Namibia
3. Illse Hayes, Athletics, South Africa
4. Phenduliwe Mavuso, Athletics, Kingdom of eSwatini
5. Margaret Bangajena, Wheelchair racing, Zimbabwe
Sports Team of the Year
1. Botswana 4 x 400 meters Men Relay, Athletics, Botswana
2. Namibian U20 National Team, Rugby, Namibia
3. Springbok Sevens Team, Rugby, South Africa
4. Sihlangu Semnikati – Football, Kingdom of eSwatini
5. Zambia Football U20 National Team, Football, Zambia
6. Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens, Rugby, Zimbabwe
Coach of the Year
1. Mogomotsi Otsetswe, Athletics, Botswana
2. Griffin Saenda Junior, Football, Malawi
3. Nestor Tobias, Boxing, Namibia
4. Jean Verster, Athletics, South Africa
5. Thabo Vilakati, Football Kingdom of eSwatini
6. Beston Chambeshi, Football, Zambia
Journalist of the Year
1. Ramajake Monamane, Lesotho
2. OG Molefe, South Africa
3. Ntokozo Magongo, Kingdom of eSwatini
4. Mathews Kabamba, Zambia
Sportsperson of the Year
1. Karabo Sibanda, Athletics, Botswana
2. Bernadetta Mzika, Football, Malawi
3. Luvo Manyonga, Athletics, South Africa
4. Tony Tsabezde, Football, Kingdom of eSwatini
5. Samson Muripo, Karate, Zimbabwe.