Noko Alice Matlou

Football player

She is the newly crowned queen of African football. Noko Alice Matlou's milestone is a first for South Africa. Great players such as Benni McCarthy and Portia Modise may have been nominated for the biggest Confederation of African Football accolade in the past but that's the closest South Africa got until Matlou. The bustling Banyana Banyana forward was recognised as the best African female player for 2008 at a colourful ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria. She was crowned on the same night Arsenal and Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor was named the African Footballer of the Year in the men's category. An avalanche of 23 goals in 20 games for Banyana in 2008 was enough proof that the 19-year-old Matlou, who plays for the Limpopobased Brazilian FC team when at home, is a world-class player. Her devastating form catapulted Banyana to their first ever African Women's Championship final last year. Her class was evident in the tournament when she banged in six goals, including a hat-trick in the semifinal and a goal in the final to share the Golden Boot Award with her fierce rival Genevova Anonma of Equatorial Guinea. She was also the shining star of Basetsana, the national under- 21 team. Matlou led the young South Africans to a Women's Championship of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations victory in Angola. She scored an incredible 12 goals in five games in that tournament. Needless to say, the queen of African football finished as the top goalscorer and won three Player of the Match awards. Matlou is set to leave her home in Limpopo for a lucrative contract in Europe to play professional football in Iceland. � Phathisani Moyo

Lunch spot: McDonald's, anywhere