Super Falcons of Nigeria strikers, Desire Oparanozie and Asisat Oshoala are among the five contenders shortlisted for the African Footballer of the Year award in the female category.
Others on the shortlist are Annette Ngo Ndom of Cameroon, Portia Modise of South Africa and Zenatha Coleman of Namibia. Oshoala emerged from the ranks to prove herself as one of the top players on the continent. Earlier this year, she won the Most Valuable Player, MVP award and highest goalscorer awards at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada, where Nigeria finished second.
The Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt striker followed up that performance in the African Women Championship, AWC in Namibia by winning the MVP award. She also added the Federation Cup and Women’s League in Nigeria to her growing list of honours.
France-based striker, Oparanozie, notably finished the AWC this year as leading scorer and helped Nigeria win the tournament. Modise is now a legend in the women’s game in her country after scoring a record 100 goals in her career. She was at the weekend crowned the SA Sports Star of the Year after Banyana Banyana of South Africa finished as semi-finalists in the AWC.
Ndom, the 29-year-old goalkeeper, was impressive at the AWC and her performance took Cameroon’s Lionnesses as far as the final of the tournament until Nigeria stopped them. Ndom plays in the Slovakian first division for FC Union Nove Zamky, and took part in this season’s UEFA Champions League. Brave Gladiators midfielder, Coleman, also makes the final five shortlist though Namibia failed to progress past the group stage of the AWC.
But Coleman has been impressive in the colours of her club. For Oshoala, she could claim a double award as she is also shortlisted for the Youth Player of the Year award alongside her Nigerian compatriot, Uchechi Sunday.
Fabrice Ondoa of Cameroon and Kader Bidimbou of Congo are the shortlists in that category. Nigeria’s U-20 women’s national team, the Falconets, will also look to beat Cameroon and Ivory Coast for the National Team of the Year award for women.