China-based Malawi women’s football star Temwa Chawinga has become the first African to be crowned 2023 International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) world top scorer with 63 goals.
Such is the Scorchers forward’s feat that she scored nine goals more than the men’s football’s winner, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
According to Forbes, Temwa has become the third women’s footballer to achieve the feat after Dutch striker Fenna Kalma and Spanish Jenni Hermoso who won it in 2022 and 2021, respectively.
In an interview with the Nation Newspaper on Tuesday, the Wuhan Jiangda forward said she had no idea of having touched such lofty heights.
She said: “Honestly, I was bewildered when I heard about it. I just couldn’t believe it because there are many world-class players out there.
“But when reality sunk in, I felt like flying. I am really excited and I guess it’s a reward for my hard work.”
The 25-year-old dedicated the award to the country, her family and fans.
“Over and above that, I thank God Almighty for His continued blessings because without Him I couldn’t have achieved it. This will inspire me to work even harder,” she said.
Temwa, whose contract with Wuhan expired last month, beat her runner-up Mexican Veronica Corral of CF Pachura by 24 goals.
In the men’s category, the runners-up to Ronaldo were Bayern Munich’s English striker Harry Kane and his French counterpart Kylian Mbape of Paris Saint Germain (PSG) who tied on 52 goals.
Zambian Rachael Kundananji is the next African on the women’s list with 34 goals and is fifth overall.
Africa Women’s Footballer of the Year, Nigerian Asisat Oshoala, who plays for Barcelona is 15th with 28 goals while Temwa’s France-based sister Tabitha, who turns out for PSG, is a distant 25th with 25 goals.
In an interview on Tuesday, Tabitha, who herself became the first African to win the Italian Serie A Feminine golden boot last year, said she is proud of her sibling’s achievement.
“Not a mean feat at all. It’s testimony that she is among the best in the world,” she said.
National Women’s Football Association chairperson Adelaide Migogo also hailed Temwa’s feat.
“She shone brightly in the just-ended year and I keep wondering how these girls did not make the CAF [Confederation of African Football] Africa Women’s Footballer of the Year Award final list. We are proud of her and she continues to fly Malawi’s flag high,” she said.
Temwa scored 51 goals for Wuhan Jiangda in all competitions last year. She won the golden boot in the Chinese Super League with 30 goals. She was also the top scorer in the Chinese National Cup with 15 goals and won the Chinese FA Cup top scorer award with six goals.
The forward also won the Cosafa Women’s Championship golden boot with nine goals after inspiring the Scorchers to the title.