BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Serial winner, Nigeria and FC Barcelona’s Asisat Oshoala has been named in the final three of the African Women’s Footballer of the Year. Contesting with her are the duo of Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa and Zambia’s Barbara Banda .
Oshoala, a winner of the UEFA Women’s Champions League with FC Barcelona and also the Copa de la Reina (Queen’s Cup) is gunning for a sixth win since her first ‘coronation’ in 2014. She was also the winner in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022.
She remains the most winner after edging out compatriot and four time winner: Perpetua Nkwocha. Her major opponent will be Thembi Kgatlana, winner of the 2018 edition.
Kgatlana plays as a forward for America’s Racing Louisville. She featured at the 2016 Olympics and was at the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Player of the Tournament and was the highest goal scorer.
Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa
Kgatlana was at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France where she scored her country’s first goal ever in the tournament. On 2 August 2023, she scored the winning goal in a 3–2 victory over Italy at the Women’s World Cup. It was South Africa’s first ever win in the competition which led to their qualification to the knockout phase.
The third contender is Zambia’s Barbara Banda who surmounted pre-tournament gender controversy to score the historic 1,000th goal in Women’s World Cup history.
Zambia’s Barbara Banda
Before then, the former woman professional boxer and captain of the Zambia’s women football team was denied the chance of playing at last year’s WAFCON in Morocco due to her abnormally high levels of testosterone.
In layman’s language, she was seen more as a man than a woman. FIFA however cleared her to feature at the Women’s World Cup this year.