She has done it again and still counting. Malawi women football icon Tabitha Chawinga has been named 2018 Women Footballer of the Year in China.
The Jiangsu Suning dead-eyed forward also won the Golden Boot Award with 17 goals in her debut season in the Chinese women’s top-flight league.
Chawinga said the awards gala is scheduled for end of the month.
In an interview from the Asian nation yesterday, Tabitha said she did not expect to win the award.
“To be honest, I never thought I would be named the best player because there are just so many good players here in China.
“We were about to start training yesterday [Monday] when the coach called us and said she had some good news. She said they had received communication that I have been named Player of the Year.
“I just could not believe what I was hearing. I just thank the Almighty God for his blessings because without him I wouldn’t be where I am.
“God has been wonderful to me. I also owe it to my team-mates, my family and the football fraternity there at home for their support,” she said.
The Malawi national football team captain said hard work and self-belief have been the main contributing factors to her success.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said it is not surprising that Tabitha has won the award because she has been outstanding throughout.
“She is the pride of the nation and she is destined for greater heights. We are proud of her exploits because she continues to put the country on the map,” he said.
The Chinese Super League is rated as one of the best women’s leagues in the world and has high-profile names such as Brazilian Cristiane Rozeira de Souza Silva, who is the highest paid player in the league and 2017 African Women footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala from Nigeria.
Tabitha notched seven goals more than second-placed Oshoala in the just ended season
She has won the top scorer accolade four times in foreign leagues since 2014 when she made her professional football debut with Swedish club Kvarnsveden IK. Tabitha won the award in her debut season and retained it the following year.
She also won it in 2017 with 25 goals despite her team being relegated to the lower league and was also named Forward of the Year during the Swedish Football Awards ahead of the then World Player of the Year Lieke Martens. n