Dynamic Nigerian soccer striker, Asisat Oshoala, is in the running for the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) inaugural Woman Player of the Year Award.
The 2014 African Player of the Year was the most valuable player in last year’s International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Under-20 tournament in Canada, where she scored a tournament high seven goals.
“I worked very hard last year, but I am surprised to be nominated and I feel very much appreciated,” said Oshoala. “This award is a very good thing for women’s soccer. It can really help us by encouraging other countries to support their ladies more and treat them the same way they treat the men.”
Last January, Oshoala made history, becoming the first African player to compete in the Women’s Super League in England.
“She’s one of the best young players in the world,” said Liverpool first team ladies manager, Matt Beard.
This is the first time that the BBC will honour women soccer players.
“With anticipation building ahead of the Women’s World Cup in Canada in June, we are thrilled to announce the shortlist for the first Women’s Soccer Player of the Year Award,” said BBC’s World Service English controller, Mary Hockaday. “The five shortlisted players represent the crème de la crème of female soccer players from across the globe.”
Also on the shortlist are Brazilian striker and five-time FIFA Player of the Year, Marta, who has scored 79 goals in 91 appearances for her country since 2002; Spanish midfielder, Veronica Boquete; Scotland’s Kim Little, who plays for Seattle Reign FC and Germany’s Nadine Kessler.
A panel of experts, including administrators, journalists, coaches and former players, chose the players on the shortlist.
The winner will be revealed on BBC World Service on May 26 after being decided by a public vote that closes on May 11.
Fans can vote online through the BBC website.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia and Guinea have new national coaches.
Yohannes Sahle replaces Portuguese Mariano Barreto in Ethiopia, which is ranked 101st in the world. He is an Ethiopian-born American citizen who had a successful playing career in the mid-1980s with top Ethiopian teams before migrating to the United States.
“I played for Ethiopia from the youth team to the national team level,” he said. “Now I am very happy to be the coach of the team I played for.”
The 49-year-old’s first task will be to prepare Ethiopia for the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers starting next month.
And, former French international Luis Fernandez has signed a 20-month contract with an option for an extension with the Guinea Soccer Federation.
“My goal is to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017,” said Fernandez, who takes over from Michael Dussuyer, who quit the post after leading Guinea to the quarter-finals of this year’s Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea last January. “Depending on the results, we will see how the rest of the story unfolds.”
Fernandez, 55, had two stints with Paris St. Germain in France and coached Israel before taking up his latest assignment.