Nigeria Centurion footballer and erstwhile Super Falcons ace midfielder Maureen Mmadu has endorsed Asisat Oshoala for the coveted 2019 African Women’s Player of the Year award.
The 25-year-old Barcelona forward is eyeing a record-equalling fourth continental crown following her success at the 2014, 2016 and 2017 editions but Mmadu believes her compatriot is up against formidable contenders after being pitched against Ajara Nchout (Cameroon and Valerenga) and Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa and Beijing Phoenix FC).
“The three players shortlisted by CAF for the 2019 African Women’s Player of the Year award are good and I think anyone of them can win it because they have all done well with in their various clubs and countries,” Mmadu who amassed a record 101 international caps between 1993 and 2011 with Super Falcons, said yesterday.
“As for Oshoala, I can say that wining it three times (in the past) doesn’t mean that she can’t win it the fourth time,” she added.
Oshoala’s career has been laced with individual awards including 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball Awards as well as the 2015 BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year but she will join her compatriot Perpetua Nkwocha on four awards if she is crowned as the 2019 African Women’s Player of the Year award.
Nigerian lasses have been so dominant since the award was instituted in 2001 with Nkwocha being winners in 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2011 while Cynthia Uwak had a double in 2005 and 2006 and striker Mercy Akide-Udoh won the maiden edition.
Kgatlana stopped Nigeria’s near-total domination when she won the last edition ahead of Francisca Ordega and Mmadu reckons Nigerians can’t afford to be complacent because African women’s football is now on the rise.
“I think women’s football in Africa is really coming up very fast now and look at how other African countries are catching up with Nigeria,” noted Mmadu who would mark her 45th birthday on May 7. “In fact, it’s difficult to say now the Nigerian that can follow the steps of Oshoala.
“We have a lot of young players coming up in Nigeria and in other African countries, so it’s difficult to mention names now,” she noted.
The 2019 CAF Awards Gala will be held at on January at the Albatros Citadel Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada in Egypt and CAF has hinted that the event will celebrate African footballers and officials who have distinguished themselves during 2019.