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CAF Awards 2019 African Women's Player of the Year

CAF Awards: Who will be the 2019 African Women's Player of the Year?

January 6, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
Take a look at the CAF Awards' three nominees for 2019 African Women's Player of the Year in Cameroon's Ajara Nchout, Nigeria's Asisat Oshoala and South Africa's Thembi Kgatlana

Three African women are a day away from knowing which one of them will be the 2019 African Women's Player of the Year. The 28th edition of the CAF annual football awards will take place on January 7 at the Citadel Azure Hurghada, Egypt. Here are the top-three nominees.

Ajara Nchout (Cameroon & Valerenga)

Ajara Nchout, 26, was the heart and soul of the Indomitable Lionesses in their 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup run. After losing the opening two matches of the tournament to Canada, 1-0, and the Netherlands, 3-1, Nchout took matters into her own feet scoring a brace against New Zealand including a 95th minute Puskas Award-nominated and game-winning goal to make it a 2-1 win resulting in Cameroon's wildcard entry to the round of 16. The Cameroonian forward also impressed in the Toppserien, the Norwegian women's top-flight football league, helping Valerenga to a second-place finish scoring 11 goals in 22 games. Valerenga also finished second in the Norwegian Women's Cup.

Nchout's career has been a nomad's journey ever since her family discouraged her from playing the beautiful game at an early age. She took her talents to Russia in 2011 where she played for FC Energy Voronezh and WFC Rossiyanka for three years before taking the Bearing Straight to the Americas to play for the Western New York Flash in 2015. After just seven matches, Nchout was waived from the club, but a good showcase at the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015 featuring in all of Cameroon's four matches scoring a goal against Japan opened up windows of opportunity for her in Europe. She found a new home in Sweden where her performances spoke for herself scoring 22 goals in 41 matches over two seasons for Sundsvalls DFF. She continued her good form through 2018 in Norway scoring 15 goals in 19 matches for IL Sandviken and is now a top-three contender for the 2019 African Women's Player of the Year award. 

Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Barcelona)

The three-time African Women's Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala, is back for revenge after missing out on the award last year to South Africa's Thembi Kgatlana. The Nigerian is in the middle of her Primera Division Femenina league run with Barcelona where she has scored 10 goals in 13 matches making her the second-leading scorer so far this season. She arrived at Cataluña in the middle of the 2018-2019 season and scored seven goals in seven matches for la Blaugrana in league play. And let us not forget that 'Superzee,' her nickname given by team-mates, scored Barcelona's lone goal in their 4-1 loss against Lyon in the UEFA Women's Champions League final. Nigeria's #8 scored a wonderful goal in a 2-0 group-stage win against South Korea the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. 

Oshoala made a name for herself in 2014 when she took the U-20 Women's World Cup golden boot back to Nigeria earning her a move to Liverpool in 2015 where she became the first African player to play in the FA Women's Super League. Her coach at the time, Matt Beard, called her "one of the best young players in the world." After one season at Liverpool, she joined the elite Arsenal Ladies for the 2016 campaign. Superzee transitioned to China in 2017 where she was the top scorer in her first year for Dalian Quanjian F.C.and came back to Barcelona on a loan spell which was made permanent after a successful six months. Oshoala has continued to be one of Africa's most decorated footballers with three African Cup of Nations titles, numerous individual awards and major success overseas making her a top-three contender for the 2019 African Women's Player of the Year award.

Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa & Beijing BG Phoenix F.C.)

The current African Women's Player of the Year, Thembi Kgatlana, is back at the CAF Awards with hopes of becoming the first non-Nigerian footballer to win the award in back-to-back years. Like Oshoala and Nchout, the 23-year-old South African was the only player in her team to score in France 2019. A goal that can be compared in many ways to Siphiwe Tshabalala's 2010 World Cup goal, both being the first-ever World Cup goal for men's and women's and in their visual aspect. Previous to the World Cup, the South African arrived at Beijing BG Phoenix F.C. in the Chinese Women's Super League where she has scored four goals in nine games.

In 2015, still in her teens, Kgatlana launched the Thembi Kgatlana football tournament to empower youth in her birthplace of Mohlankeng in Randfontein, near Johannesburg. The short but mighty striker represented her country at the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2018 Africa Cup of Nations, where she was the top-scorer and won Player of the Tournament. After spending the 2018 season with the Houston Dash, Kgatlana moved to China to play for Beijing BG Phoenix in February 2019. South Africa has lots of praise for the young footballer and believes that she can be the 2019 African Women's Player of the Year.

 


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