Saturday, July 13, 2024

Racheal Kundananji wins the 2023 GOAL50 Women’s Award 

Zambia Women’s National Team forward Rachel Kundananji has won the 2023 GOAL50 Women’s Award, Popular website, has announced. 

The Zambia and Madrid striker became the first-ever African player to win GOAL50, with Asisat Oshoala coming second and Linda Caicedo third.

Meanwhile, Inter Miami star Lionel Messi has  been crowned winner of the 2023 GOAL50 men’s award.

The duo came out on top after a series of head-to-head battles voted on by fans across the globe.

GOAL readers came out in force to support their favourite players once again, with 5.75 million votes cast across both the men’s and women’s game, the website confirmed. 

The Zambian international was recognised by voters for her outstanding debut season at Madrid CFF and historic contribution to the Zambia national team.

Zambian forward Kundananji secured a dream move to Madrid CFF in August 2022, and repaid the club’s faith with a stunning debut campaign. Madrid could only finish fifth in Liga F, but Kundananji scored 25 goals in 29 appearances to finish as runner up in the Golden Boot race.

Two of those efforts came in an upset victory over eventual champions Barcelona, which solidified her status as one of the best young players in the game. 

Kundananji’s impressive performances earned her a spot in Zambia’s World Cup squad, and she managed to open her scoring account at the tournament in 3-1 group stage win over Costa Rica.

Zambia didn’t make it through to the knockout stage, but the 23-year-old went on to notch her first hat-trick at international level in a friendly win over Morocco in September, before repeating the trick in Madrid’s 5-1 victory over Sevilla.

Kundananji has added four more goals to her 2023-24 club total since then, and if she continues on her current trajectory, her GOAL50 nod could be the first of many.

On the men’s side, Messi finished ahead of Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham, Kylian Mbappe and Kevin De Bruyne, while Asisat Oshoala, Linda Caicedo, Tabitha Chawinga and Lauren James made up the top five in the women’s category behind Kundananji.

Messi entered 2023 as a World Cup winner after inspiring Argentina’s run to glory in Qatar last December, and added a second Ligue 1 title to his trophy cabinet after returning to Paris Saint-Germain. The diminutive magician recorded 21 goals and 20 assists in all competitions across his final season at Parc des Princes, and took the decision to embark on a new adventure in MLS upon the expiration of his contract in June.

Messi also helped Argentina make a strong start to their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with five wins from six games, and scooped a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or as a reward for his stunning exploits for club and country.

The 36-year-old now has an unrivalled seven GOAL50 triumphs to his name, two more than his eternal Cristiano Ronaldo, who missed the final cut for the first time.

Aaron Mubanga
Aaron Mubanga
Aaron Mubanga is a qualified Environmental Health Technologist| Editor in Chief of Zambia's biggest all local football website ZamFoot| Player manager for Copper Queens duo of Barbra Banda and Evarine Susan Katongo |Brand Ambassador for Betway|Talent Scout| Women's Football Ambassador| Blogger | Football Writer|

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