The inaugural COSAFA Awards was staged at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Thursday evening. The night marked a celebration of the very best of Southern African football as those players, coaches, and referees who excelled in 2023 were recognized. 

A total of eleven awards honoring the best performers from last year, as well as five Lifetime Achievement gongs, were handed over to winners selected by a judging panel from across the 14 member nations that make up COSAFA.

“These awards have been a long time coming and we are delighted to host the inaugural event this year,” says COSAFA Executive Director Sue Destombes. “We have seen tremendous growth in our region in both men’s and women’s football, and the achievements of teams, players and coaches should be celebrated.

“These awards highlight the work that COSAFA continues to do on and off the pitch to develop football in our region and while we celebrate these successes, it also gives us the desire to do more in the future and continue this upward trajectory for our game.”

Mamelodi Sundowns tactician Rulani Mokwena scooped the men’s coach of the year award after Masandawana duo Ronwen Williams and Andile Dlamini emerged as the top men’s and women’s goalkeepers respectively. Thapelo Maseko was awarded the men’s most promising player with former Downs hitman Percy Tau taking home the men’s player of the year. The complete award categories, winners, and nominees are as follows:

MOST PROMISING REFEREE – Tsiaro Randriambololoma (Madagascar)
Thato Makgoga (South Africa)
Wyson Musitafa (Zambia)

BEST FEMALE REFEREE – Diana Chikotesha (Zambia)
Akhona Makalima (South Africa)
Antsino Twanyanyukwa (Namibia)

BEST MALE REFEREE – Jerson Dos Santos (Angola)
Arsénio Marengula (Mozambique)
Abongile Tom (SA)

WOMEN’S MOST PROMISING PLAYER – Leticia Chinyamula (Malawi)
Esther Banda (Zambia)
Rose Kadzere (Malawi)

MEN’S MOST PROMISING PLAYER – Thapelo Maseko (South Africa)
Miguel Chaiwa (Zambia)
Gift Mphande (Zambia)

WOMEN’S GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR – Andile Dlamini (South Africa)
Mercy Sikelo (Malawi)
Kaylin Swart (South Africa)

MEN’S GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR – Ronwen Williams (South Africa)
Lloyd Kazapua (Namibia)
Lawrence Mulenga (Zambia)

WOMEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR – Dr Desiree Ellis (South Africa)
Bruce Mwape (Zambia)
Jerry Tshabalala (South Africa)

MEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR – Rulani Mokwena (South Africa)
Collin Benjamin (Namibia)
Morena Ramoreboli (South Africa)

WOMEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Racheal Kundananji (Zambia)
Barbra Banda (Zambia)
Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi)

MEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Percy Tau (South Africa)
Lameck Banda (Zambia)
Peter Shalulile (Namibia)