Twelve of Nigeria’s senior women’s football team players – Super Falcons – have emerged as the overall best players of the annual Confederation of African Football (CAF) award in the women’s category since 2001.
Checks by The ICIR show that the 12 awards won by four Nigerians in the ‘Best Female African Player of the Year’ category represent 60 per cent of the total 20 winners since its inception 22 years ago.
The annual event did not hold in 2009 and 2013.
The overall best player category is part of the categories of awards the African football governing body shortlists players to contend against each other.
In Nigeria, the Super Falcons players who have won the individual laurels include the maiden award winner, Mercy Akide, in 2001 and Perpetua Nkwocha, who bagged it four times in 2004, 2005, 2010, and 2011.
Former Super Falcons player Cynthia Uwak smiled home with the award back to back in 2006 and 2007, while in-form Asisat Oshoala has etched her name as the only player to have won the award five times.
Oshoala’s meteoric rise began in 2014 when she stunned the world during the FIFA U-20 World Cup, ending the tournament as the best player.
Also, in the same year, she was pivotal to the success of the Super Falcons winning the Africa Women’s Championship hosted in Namibia, which earned her first CAF award and also recognition as a Member of the Order of Niger bestowed on her by the former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The following year, in 2015, Cameroonian footballer Gaëlle Deborah Enganamouit clinched the award.
In 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2022, Oshoala bagged the award, hoping to clinch it the sixth time when the ceremony holds on December 11, 2023, at the Palais des Congres Movenpickin, Morocco.
Oshoala, Nnadozie, Waldrum shortlisted for 2023 CAF award
Ahead of this year’s edition, current Africa’s best female player, Oshoala, goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, and coach, Randy Waldrum, made the final shortlist for the 2023 CAF awards.
Also, Nigerians shortlisted in the Young Player of the Year category include Esther Ajakaye and Deborah Abiodun.
Oshoala will contend with Nnadozie, Barbara Babanda from Zambia, and South Africa’s trio of Andile Dlamini, Hilda Magaia, and Thembi Kgatlana for the Player of the Year Award.
Others in that category include Cameroon’s Ajara Njoya and Morocco’s Anissa Lahmari, Fatima Tagnaout, and Ghizalaine Chebbak.
Super Falcons ‘penalty-saver specialist’ Nnadozie is also listed for the Goalkeeper of the Year Award, in which she would contend with the Moroccan duo of Imane Abdelahad and Khadija Er-Rmichi and South Africa’s Andile Dlamini and Kaylin Swart.
Ajakaye and Abiodun will face Ghana’s Comfort Yeboah, Morocco’s Nesryne El Chad, and South Africa’s Thubelihle Shamase in the Young Player of the Year award.
Coach Waldrum, who took Nigeria to the second round of the New Zealand/Australia 2023 Women’s World Cup, is pitched against Mehdi El Qaichouri (SC Casablanca), Reynald Pedros (Morocco), Desiree Ellis (South Africa) and Jerry Tshabalala (Mamelodi Sundowns) for the Coach of the Year award.
Nigeria is listed in the National Team of the Year Award alongside Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia.
The regional football governing body, in a statement on Monday, said the winners of each category would be determined after the votes of a panel comprising members of its technical commission, media professionals from member associations, head coaches, and captains of member associations, including clubs involved in the group stages of interclub competitions.
The awards ceremony will be held on December 11, 2023, at the Palais des Congres Movenpickin, Morocco.