Four African teams (Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia) are taking part, from July 20 to August 20, in the ninth edition of the Women’s Football World Cup, in Australia and New Zealand, the first bringing together 32 teams. Among them, five players are to be followed closely.
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Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria)
Nigerian footballer Asisat Oshoala, in Barcelona, April 22, 2022. LLUIS GENE / AFP
One should not look for comparison between Asisat Oshoala, 28, and his compatriot Victor Osimhen, the scorer of the Super Eagles. The star of the women’s selection – the Super Falcons – had a wealthy childhood, her parents having succeeded in the gold and fashion sectors, when Victor Osimhen experienced hardship in Lagos. After having had a difficult start in England, at Liverpool and then Arsenal, Asisat Oshoala (41 caps, 30 goals) is now playing in Barcelona, where she has established herself as one of the best strikers in Europe.
The World Cup will be an opportunity to confirm this status, when Nigeria will face Australia, Canada and Ireland in the first round. Three times African champion with her country (2014, 2016, 2018), Asisat Oshoala is involved in the daily lives of African players. His foundation, which bears his name, is entirely devoted to their empowerment.
Rosella Ayane (Maroc)
Moroccan footballer Rosella Ayane, in Rabat, July 23, 2022. FADEL SENNA / AFP
Born in Reading (United Kingdom) to a Scottish mother and a Moroccan father, Rosella Ayane, 27, began her international career with England in the Under-17 and 19 selections. In June 2021, after being very close to playing for Scotland, she finally decided to answer the call of Morocco, with whom she has already scored nine goals in 21 selections.
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The Tottenham striker will undoubtedly be one of the main assets of the selection led by Frenchman Reynald Pedros. For her first participation in a World Cup, she inherited a complicated draw with Germany, South Korea and Colombia. Her qualities as a scorer, but above all as a decisive passer, could be very useful to the Lionesses of the Atlas, vice-champions of Africa in title.
Barbra Banda (Zambia)
Zambian footballer Barbra Banda, in Miyagi, Japan, July 24, 2021. KOHEI CHIBAHARA / AFP
In July 2022, Barbra Banda had not been authorized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to participate in the Women’s African Cup of Nations (CAN), organized in Morocco. The pretext: she did not meet the femininity criteria imposed by the body, when she had been able to participate in the previous edition, in 2018, but also in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. The absence of its best player had not prevented Zambia from qualifying, via this Moroccan CAN, for the first World Cup in its history, where it will face Spain, Japan and Costa Rica.
Barbara Banda, 23, who inherited the captain’s armband, has already scored 30 goals for her selection. Since 2020, she has been playing in Shanghai after becoming, in 2018, the first Zambian to turn professional in Europe, in the Spanish club of Logrono. The money she earns in China notably allows her to finance her foundation, where she defends victims of gender-based violence or helps teenage girls experiencing early pregnancies.
Andile Dlamini (South Africa)
South African footballer Andile Dlamini, in Soxeto, September 2, 2022. PHILL MAGAKOE / AFP
South Africa won its first CAN in 2022 and it owes it in particular to Andile Dlamini, elected on this occasion as the best goalkeeper of the competition. The 30-year-old player, who plays for Mamelodi Sundowns, one of the best South African clubs and whose owner is none other than Patrice Motsepe, the president of CAF, is one of the best specialists in the position on the continent. During the CAN in Morocco, she had conceded only three goals, being decisive on many occasions.
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The Banyana Banyana, who have inherited a particularly strong group with the United States, reigning world champions, Sweden, third best world selection, and Italy, will need an Andile Dlamini at the top of his form to cross the first round.
Ghizlane Chebbak (Maroc)
Moroccan footballer Ghizlane Chebbak, in Rabat, July 18, 2022. – / AFP
His father, Larbi Chebbak, who died in 2020, was a very good Moroccan Division 1 player under the colors of USK (Sidi Kacem) and was selected several times during the 1970s by the Atlas Lions. Encouraged by him, Ghizlane Chebbak, 32, is now the captain of the national team, with whom she is preparing to discover the high world level.
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Apart from a brief stint in Egypt in 2010-2011, she spent almost her entire career at AS FAR Rabat, the army club – incidentally the most successful in the kingdom. Elected best player of the CAN 2022 organized by her country, the attacker with 21 goals in 60 selections had long defended the creation of a real women’s professional championship in Morocco. It has been done since 2020.