Matlou named Sportswoman of the Year

Monday, August 22, 2011
Nthambeleni Gabara

Rustenburg - Banyana Banyana red hot striker, Noko Matlou, scooped the Sportswoman of the Year accolade during the 2011 SA Sports Awards ceremony at Sun City.

However, the Limpopo-born Banyana prolific striker, who became the first South African to win a major individual Confederation of African Football (CAF) last year, was not available to receive her award and R50 000 cash prize.

In February 2009, at the CAF award ceremony, Matlou became the first South African player to be named the CAF Female Player of the Year.

She played a central role in getting Banyana to the recent COSAFA women's championship held in Zimbabwe. Again, she also helped the national women's team get bronze medals during last year's African Women's Championship.

From 61 appearances in the national team colours, Matlou scored 48 goals and it is hoped that with her goal-scoring capability, she will help Banyana qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

In this category, Matlou beat hands down Sunette Viljoen of Athletics South Africa, and Pietie Coetzee of South African Hockey Association.

Matlou was not the only female nominee who won a major award. Kgothatso Montjane from the South African women's wheelchair tennis team won the Sportswoman with Disability Award.

In May this year, she was unbeaten at the International Tennis Federation's World Team Cup held at the University of Pretoria.

This was not an easy category as Montjane was competing with South African swimmer Natalie du Toit, who has gone on to compete against and often beat able-bodied swimmers at the highest level. Another nominee was Emily Gray of the South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said: "The Sports Awards are imperative as they are not only a platform for incentive and jollity for sport excellence, but a celebration of human triumph."

The theme of the awards, which were temporarily unavailable for two years, was 'Today's Leaders, Tomorrow's Legends.'

The awards, which were broadcast live on both Supersport and SABC 1 television stations, were organised by the Sport and Recreation Department, in partnership with the SABC, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, and the North West Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

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