Crested Cranes strikers Fazila Ikwaput and Fauzia Najjemba’s exploits over the year have earned them slots in the 30 nominees for the Caf Women’s Player of the Year Award and 10 contestants for the Young Player of the Year Award respectively.
The awards are due to be handed to the top talents on the continent in both men and women’s categories on July 21 in Rabat, Morocco – days to the finals of the ongoing Women Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon).
Ikwaput has met some of her competitors like Burundi’s 16 year old forward Rukiya Bizimana at the recently concluded Cecafa Women Championship and the Moroccan trio of Sanaa Mssoudy, Ghizlane Chebbak and Fatima Tagnaout in their Wafcon encounter on Tuesday.
Ikwaput, however, is on the list for her title winning 2021 season with Lady Doves. This propelled the Masindi-based club to the Cecafa region Caf Champions League qualifiers in Nairobi, where the forward led them to the semifinals of the competition.
She has also further enhanced her reputation this year as Fufa Women Super League (FWSL) joint top scorer alongside ‘goals centurion’ Hasifah Nassuna and also as most valuable player (MVP) as Uganda won the Cecafa Women Championship at Fufa Technical Centre, Njeru last month.
Najjemba, on the other hand, meets many familiar rivals in her category.
Ethiopia’s Rediet Assresahagn was the tormentor in chief as Uganda’s U-20 national team that Najjemba captained lost their final match of the age group’s Cecafa tourney from 2-0 up at halftime.
Assresahagn returned with the senior team to Njeru last month but Najjemba was not at the tournament as she had secured a move abroad. Najjemba, however, also scored the second goal as Uganda beat Ethiopia’s national team Lucy 2-0 at St. Mary’s College Kitende in the first leg of the first round of this Wafcon’s qualifiers.
Ethiopia overturned the result in Addis Ababa but Uganda won the resulting penalty shootout 2-1 as Najjemba and Nassuna converted to set up a botched tie against Kenya, who pulled out of the campaign over administration wrangles back home.
Tanzania’s Clara Luvanga also played in that 2021 U-20 Cecafa tournament but has also just helped the east African country to their first ever U-17 World Cup at the expense of perennial qualifiers Ghana.
Ghana’s Evelyn Badu and Doris Boaduwaa handed Uganda the coup de grace in the penultimate round of the U-20 World Cup qualifiers in February just before Najjemba secured a move to Kazakhstan club BIIK Kazygurt – a side Ikwaput represented in the Uefa Champions League in 2019 and scored for against Barcelona.
Senegal’s Hapsatou Diallo won the penalty for their first goal against Uganda in that 2-0 Wafcon opening defeat on Sunday.
Caf Awards (Women) – 2022
Botswana: Lesege Radiakanyo, RefilweTholakele
Cameroon: Ajara Nchout Njoya, Gabrielle Onguene, Jeanette Yango, Rose Bella
Ghana: Evelyn Badu, Doris Boaduwaa, Perpetual Agyekum
Morocco: Sanaa Mssoudy, Ghizlane Chebbak, Fatima Tagnaout
Nigeria: Asisat Oshoala, Rasheedat Ajibade, Chiamaka Nnadozie, Uchenna Kanu
South Africa: Andile Dlamini, Bambanani Mbane, Chrestinah Kgatlana, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Jane Refiloe, Linda Motlhalo
Tunisia: Mariem Houij, Sabrine Ellouzi
Zambia: Racheal Kundananji, Grace Chanda
Young Player of the Year:
Ethiopia: Rediet Assresahagn
Ghana: Evelyn Badu, Doris Boaduwaa
Nigeria: Gift Monday, Flourish Sebastine