The Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) has released a final list of nominees for the second edition of the National Sports Awards scheduled for today at the Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe.
Briefing journalists in Blantyre on Wednesday, MNCS administration manager Henry Mereka said the Sportswoman of the Year Category would be the toughest to decide the eventual winner among the 10 individual categories as it comprises China-based women football export Tabitha Chawinga, England-based netball star Joyce Mvula and professional boxer Anisha Bashir.
“It will be a big challenge to decide eventual winners in each category, especially the sportswoman section,” Mereka said.
Tabitha emerged as top goal scorer in the Chinese top-flight women’s football league with 17 goals, seven above former Confederation of African Football (CAF) award winner Osisat Oshoala of Nigeria.
She was also named the Best Player of the Season and won two cup competitions in which she was top scorer. She was also nominated for CAF Player of the Year award for the second year in a row.
As for Mvula, who is the first Malawian netball player to play for a professional netball club in England, was named Player of the Year and Most Improved Player at her club Manchester Thunder while Bashir is the reigning Africa and Commonwealth Lightweight champion. Ranked fourth best female boxer in her category in the world, she is set to fight for the World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver title this year.
The Sportsman of the Year nominees are national chess champion Chiletso Chipanga, long distance runner Kephas Kasten and TNM Super League player of the season Yamikani Chester.
In the Junior Female Sportsperson Category, the battle is between Region Five Games’ 3 000 metre gold medalist Moneyi Chingaipe and the Japanese Ambassador’s National Judo Championship gold medalist Harriet Boniface.
Yamikani Mtambo, Snowden Munyanje and Blessings Kamanga will tussle for the Junior Male Sportsperson Award while Masters Security FC chairperson Alfred Gangata, Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) president Susan Namangale and Professional Golfers Association of Malawi president Patridge Shycal will fight for the sports administrator honours.
The non-citizen category has Chigolo Football Academy founder George Maguire, Nyasa Big Bullets president Conrad Buckle and Chessam schools coordinator Margaret Ngugama as final nominees.
The sports woman with disability category has tennis player Mphatso Chiphwanya and athletes Bertha Nyson and Agnes Lekaleka.
The sportsman with disability section has Alinafe Puwa, Chimwemwe Mtolongo and Thokozani Goodson.
Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve coach Enos Chatama, Junior national netball team coach Christina Mkwanda-Nsinji and Masters coach Abbas Makawa have been nominated for the best coach accolade.
The umpire/referee/judges section has Bernadette Kwimbira-Nzika, Ishmael Chizinga and Happiness Mbandambanda.
Times Group, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and Zodiak Broadcasting Station are best media house nominees whereas Chessam, Golf Union of Malawi and Malawi Paralympics Committee will tussle for the sports association of the year award. The winning sports district of the year will be chosen from among Chitipa, Ntcheu and Chikwawa.
Fifa referee Kwimbira-Nzika, who scooped the overall sportsperson of the year accolade aside from emerging the best in the referees/umpires/judges category last year, said she is humbled to have been nominated for the award for the consecutive second year.
Meanwhile, integrated mobile network and ICT service provider TNM Plc has committed K3 million towards the awards ceremony.