The glittering awards ceremony, to celebrate the pinnacle of sporting excellence, was attended by athletes, sports luminaries, and government dignitaries from across the 10 countries that make up Region: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The awards add a continental flavour to the accolades received by the world champions, with the Springboks most recently being crowned the Team of the Year at the SA Sports Awards and SA Rugby Awards, while Kolisi received the People’s Choice and Sports Star of the Year Awards.

SA Rugby President Mr Mark Alexander congratulated the team and Kolisi for being honoured in such a prestigious manner: “This award underlines the continental significance of the Springboks’ consecutive Rugby World Cup victories and the key role Siya played in guiding the team both on and off the field.

“They deserve all the recognition for their hard work and sacrifices over several years to lift the Webb Ellis Cup in France last year and Japan in 2019, and we are delighted to see how far and wide their achievements have reached.

“The team and Kolisi have been critical in showing what unity, teamwork, and overcoming numerous barriers on and off the field can achieve in nation-building and building winning teams, and we hope this inspires teams across Africa to follow in their footsteps and achieve similar success.”

The competition for these awards was stiff, with the Springboks going up against the Malawian Scorchers – the national women's football team – and Botswana's senior men’s 4x400m relay team, while Kolisi triumphed in a highly competitive category, edging out notable athletes such as Bayapo Ndori from Botswana, and Mancoba Mahlatsi from Swaziland.

The ceremony's keynote address was delivered by Her Excellency Mutale Nalumango, Vice President of Zambia. The African Union Sports Council Region 5 is committed to the development and promotion of sports within the Southern African region. The council, through various programmes and events, aims to foster unity, enhance athletic performance, and support athletes in achieving their highest potential.