Presenting: The Top Five Female Players Of All Time (PART I)
The Earth is Spherical – FACT
Two multiplied by Two equals Four – FACT
Most Men love Beans – FACT (Don’t even deny that!)
Super Falcons are one of the best female teams in the WORLD – FACT and a HALF!
They have obliterated the rest on the African continent and are one of the enviable teams to make it to every edition of the World Cup since its inception in 1991. In spite of the fact that more is left to be desired in terms of moving past the GOOD ENOUGH phase, It’s high time we celebrate our very own.
Recently on one of my shows, we took a poll on the top five Nigerian players of all time and the results bordered from amazing to questionable to plain shock especially when one caller had Akinfenwa on the top of his list (that makes me a better singer than Beyonce then). However, the heart warming moments came when most had the some Falcon greats in there and THAT was another battle on its own and I thought to myself ”Gee! We’ve had some gems haven’t we?”
That led to this moment. Here and Now.
As usual, people will have varying opinions which really is the spice of life but what will be agreed upon is that these five are simply astounding and anywhere below the elite five will be regarded as robbery of mammoth proportions. This read will be divided into a two part series.
So let’s begin..Shall We?
5) Asisat Oshoala
When a player cites Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez amongst her idols and goes ahead to play for the very club these legends played for, it simply can’t be a fairy godmother granting that wish (except you’re Odegaard). It boils down to hard work, success and amongst all, exceptional skill. The 20 year old former Rivers Angels ace had it better than Cinderella in 2014. MVP, Golden Boot winner and Silver medallist at the U20 World Cup in 2014, MVP and Gold medallist of the Africa Women’s Championship in Namibia, 2014 Winner of the African Women’s Player of the year Award alongside Yaya Toure as well as the African Youth Player of the year award, One league and Fed Cup title with Rivers Angels FC, bonafide Liverpool Ladies star and the list goes on. THAT can only be heralded as Majestic. It’s true that she’s young and still has a lot to prove but we can’t deny she gets us giddy at the mere sight of her and the world can’t stop talking about her. Her blistering pace, magnetic techniques, surreal on and off the ball ability, sheer grit and passion, those solo lung-bursting runs of hers tearing apart defences gets us all rubbing our hands in anticipation of what this seemingly raw talent can be in the nearest future. Certainly, there is no men’s best player of all time list that doesn’t include Ronaldo and/or Messi sandwiched between legends like Pele, Maradona, Di Stefano, Beckanbauer etc. Why? They’re just unreal and have more than paid their dues despite being on display in a totally different era. That is exactly what Asisat is on this list. With age still on her side and a lot to prove, this attacker is capable of anything. She makes us feel good that records are meant to be broken…or aren’t they?
4) Ann Chiejine
Fashion Icon – CHECK, Influential – CHECK, Good Looks – DOUBLE CHECK and all these and more came in 5’7. Ann Chiejine (nee Agumanu) redefined women’s goalkeeping in Africa. Vocal, Imposing, Commanding of her box and Humorous, the Imo state born mother of four is one of the endearing memories of our football history such that it has been said that she has not been replaced. She represented Nigeria in three World Cups; 1991, 1995 and 2000 as well as the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. She was so good, FIFA’s statistics arm IFFHS, named the goalkeeper TWICE on the African Women’s Player of the Century list in 1999; receiving 7 votes under her maiden name Ann Agumanu and 14 votes under a CERTAIN name Ann Chiojirie (LOL..I didn’t make that up!). Yet, eyebrows were raised when she was the only wife and mother at some point in the team as well as being widely criticised when she played whilst heavy with child but all these only fuelled this icon to even greater cult status. Let’s not forget her flamboyant head gears, hairdos and shocking (and unwarranted) acrobatic saves that gave us a laugh or two (She was a huge fan of Jorge Campos and Jose Chilavert). Often times, Goal keepers do not get the credit they deserve in their team but what is unknown is that they’re arguably the most important piece of a squad’s jigsaw. Just see how that affects the team if the GK is red carded or is needed to save spot kick. That’s why Ann gets the nod on this list. As an early pioneer of the sport and now a Coach herself (COD United Women’s team) she has a legion of dreamy eyed ladies who want to be just like her. Lev Yashin would certainly be proud!
We’ve come to the midway point of this list and it will be injustice if we don’t give a nod to our honourable mentions who are also a great part of the Falcons history. In no particular order, they include: Uche Eucharia, Nkiru Okosieme, Rita Nwadike, Maureen Mmadu, Patience Avre, Stella Mbachu, Yinka Kudaisi and Kikelomo Ajayi.
More to Follow……
Article by Janine Anthony