Harare – Last weekend marked the end of the 2020-21 European football season, and there were tears of joy for several Southern Africans in overseas leagues.
There was no greater success story than that of Zambia forward Patson Daka who had a splendid season with Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga.
Three times the 22-year-old was named Player of the Month, and it was no surprise that the campaign ended with Daka being crowned Player of the Season.
Daka also won the Golden Boot for his 27 goals in just 28 games as Salzburg emerged champions for a 12th straight year.
“I am really proud of this and would like to thank all the presidents, club managers and coaches for the award. My biggest thank you goes to my teammates and coaching staff, however, who I would like to dedicate this honour to,” said Daka.
Also finishing the season as a league winner was Mozambique international Reinildo Mandava, who helped Lille OSC to its first title in a decade in France’s Ligue 1.
And popping the champagne as well is South Africa attacking midfielder Bongani Zungu, who took league honours with Rangers FC in the Scottish top flight.
The 28-year old, who was on loan from French second tier team Amiens FC, played six matches for Rangers this season.
The DRC duo of Gael Kakuta and Silas Wamangituka wrote their own pieces of history.
Kakuta, who plays for Lens in Ligue 1, was the first player from the DRC to claim the Prix Marc-Vivien Foé Award since its inception in 2011. He scored 11 goals and five assists in 34 games on his way to being recognised as the best African player in France.
Wamangituka was the first Congolese to be named Rookie of the Season accolade in Germany’s Bundesliga.
And Zimbabwean midfielder saved his best for last in the English Premier League, where he turns out for Aston Villa.
Making his 13th appearance in a season characterised by lacklustre performances, Nakamba played his best game of the campaign in the final match as Villa upstaged Chelsea 2-1.
He was the first player from Southern Africa to be named Man of the Match in the EPL in over a decade, with a rating of 9/10 in his 50th appearance for Villa.The 26-year-old said, “I am very proud to make my 50th appearance for this great club. Thanks to our amazing fans for their continuous support.”