Oshoala eyes fifth CAF award, Salah battles Mane

Super Falcons and Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala is gunning for a fifth CAF Women’s Player of The Year Award, but has Grace Chanda (Zambia/BIIK Kazygurt) and Ajara Nchout Njoya (Cameroon/Inter Milan) to contend with at a ceremony in Rabat, Morocco on Thursday (today).

Reigning African Player of The Year Sadio Mane is up against compatriot Eduoard Mendy and former club teammate Mohamed Salah for this year’s edition of the award.

CAF pruned the previous 10-man shortlist down to just three players Wednesday, and Mane, who is aiming to win his second African Footballer of the Year Award, faces stiff competition from Salah, winner of the 2018 award.

The Liverpool forward finished behind Mane in the 2019 edition.

Both star forwards faced each other in the final of the 2021 AFCON in February, with Senegal clinching the title as Mane scored the decisive penalty that gave the Aliou Cisse-led team a much-awaited AFCON trophy.

Oshoala is the only Nigerian nominee at the 2022 CAF awards after Falcons’ coach Randy Waldrum, who was originally nominated for Coach of The Year, was dropped from the final shortlist list along with Monday Gift, and Super Eagles duo Moses Simon and Akinkunmi Amoo.

She equaled countrywoman Perpetua Nkwocha’s fourth CAF Women’s Player of the Year Award at the 2019 Awards Gala, but if she claims the title today, she’ll become the sole record holder for the most award wins, thus stamping her authority on the continent.

Despite being injury-laden for a large part of last season (three months), Oshoala finished top scorer in the Liga Iberdrola with 20 goals in 19 appearances to become the first African to win the Pichichi award in Spain.

Meanwhile, Falcons coach Randy Waldrum was dropped from the final shortlist of three nominees for the Coach of The Year award.

Waldrum, who helped the Falcons qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, was overlooked for Desiree Ellis (South Africa), Bruce Mwape (Zambia), Reynald Pedros (Morocco) and Jerry Tshabalala (Mamelodi Sundowns).

Nigerians also excluded from the final shortlist for the awards are Gift Monday and Flourish Sebastine.

Monday, who was initially listed for the Interclub Player of The Year and Young Player of The Year awards, was dropped from both categories after the lists were pruned down to three players each.

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