The Women’s World Cup officially kicks off on Thursday July 20 and ends on August 20. It is being held in Australia and New Zealand. Four African teams are taking part: Zambia, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. These squads feature a host of talented players. They include both established stars and up-and-coming talents eager to showcase their talents to the world. SNA has compiled a list of 5 African players (to watch) who will be hoping to shine at the world soccer festival.
Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria)
In 2022, for the fifth time in her career, she was named “African Player of the Year”.Asisat Oshoala won this season’s Champions League with her club FC Barcelona, scoring 5 goals in 9 games during the campaign. In the league, she was also instrumental in winning the title, scoring 21 goals in 28 games.
In Nigeria, she is the absolute star. She tops the list of African players expected at the 2023 Women’s World Cup for all her achievements to date. A good World Cup would give the 28-year-old an extra chance of claiming the Ballon d’Or, as she is nominated by France Football. Nigeria are in Pool B with Canada, Australia and the Republic of Ireland.
Racheal Kundananji (Zambia)
Zambia’s Racheal Kundananji (23) is set to start the World Cup, after an exceptional season with Madrid CFF. She scored 25 times in 29 appearances. And she has once again shown enormous ability and, above all, a determination to make her mark on this World Cup with the preparatory matches she has played.Racheal scored 2 goals in Zambia’s two warm-up matches against Ireland (lost 3-2) and Switzerland (3-3). With Barbara Banda, Kundananji forms an attacking line that gives plenty of hope. Zambia are in a tough group that includes Spain, Japan and Costa Rica.
Barbara Banda (Zambia)
The spearhead of the Zambian attack is undoubtedly Barbara Banda.The player came to prominence at the Olympic Games (Tokyo 2021).She finished as top scorer.All this while playing only in the group stages (with 2 hat-tricks) for a total of 6 goals. Since then, she has become one of the most eagerly awaited players on the continent. Following her absence from the last AFCON(officially for medical reasons according to the CAF; for high testosterone levels according to unofficial sources), the player made her return to competition at the COSAFA Cup, resuming her crazy statistics with 10 goals in 5 matches. That’s twice as many as her nearest rival in the standings.
All of which makes Barbara a player on whom there are high hopes of helping Zambia to a good tournament. She will also be keen to make up for her absence at the AFCON, which might have helped Zambia to achieve better results. Expect a highly motivated Barbara!Her duet with Madrid’s Kundananji could also create sparks.
Ghizlane Chebbak (Morocco)
Ghizlane Chebbak plays for Moroccan club AS FAR, where she is a key figure. She is also a central component of the national team’s midfield. She is also a central element in the national team’s midfield, playing an excellent role as a link between the Cherifian defense and attack. The most capped player in Cherifian soccer knows how to go the extra mile. As proof, she has scored 21 times since her international debut in 2008.The team captain played a key role in her team’s qualification for the AFCON final. Unsurprisingly, she was named best player of the tournament.She also won the Women’s Champions League with AS FAR. The 33-year-old will try to carry the colors of African soccer high, as she still plays on the continent. This will be her challenge for the 2023 Women’s World Cup!
Rasheedat Ajibade (Nigeria)
“I think she has the potential to become one of the best players in the world”.
These words from Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum show the promise that Rasheedat Ajibade represents.The 23-year-old finished joint top scorer at last year’s CAF Women’s African Cup of Nations. Following on from her AFCON success, despite the South African victory, she has performed well for Atlético Madrid in Spain this season, scoring 9 league goals in 28 games. The winger has a reputation for being a dart and having above-average technique. The player will be an important support for Asistat Oshoala in creating a feat in such a tough group with Canada, Australia…and could definitely become a world star.