Top Ten: Oshoala, Demehin and the Nigerian female stars to watch in 2023

Top Ten: Oshoala, Demehin and the Nigerian female stars to watch in 2023

  • Nigeria's Super Falcons lost their Africa Women's Cup of Nations crown in 2022 with South Africa winning the trophy in Morocco.

However, there is much more to look forward to in the new year, especially with the biggest prize in female football at stake at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

And EaglesTracker presents the ten top Nigerian stars who could be crucial to the Falcons' success at the World Cup and beyond.

10. Ifeoma Onumonu - Gotham FC

Onumonu failed to shine at the Africa Women's Cup of Nations in Morocco where she scored just once - in the 2-0 triumph over Botswana - despite leading the attack in the absence of the injured Asisat Oshoala.

The 28-year-old striker's quality is however not in doubt and it will be interesting to see if the Gotham FC ace retains the trust of the national team handlers at the World Cup.

9. Gift Monday - UDG Tenerife

Despite captaining Nigeria to football gold at the 2019 All Africa Games and being a part of the Falcons squad that won the 2021 Turkish Women's Cup, Gift Monday remains on the periphery of the senior national team.

But Monday made a game-changing move recently when she quit the local scene to sign for UDG Tenerife in the Spanish top flight.

And a rich run of form for her club heading into the World Cup could elevate her status in the Falcons at the Mundial.

8. Tosin Demehin - Stade Reims

Demehin was a key member of the Nigerian squad that reached the knockout round of the U20 World Cup in 2022.

A tireless, flying full-back, the youngster sealed a move to Stade Reims in France and also made her debut for the Super Falcons.

The 20-year-old defender has made seven appearances in the French top flight and could be key for the Falcons long after Australia/New Zealand 2021 is concluded.

7. Uchenna Kanu - UANL Tigres

A bold move saw Uchenna Kanu quit Europe to join Mexican Liga MX Femenil club Tigres UANL in 2022. But that decision was vindicated after she became the first

Nigerian to win the Mexican league title.
Kanu scored two goals for Nigeria at the last Wafcon and will head to her first World Cup with high hopes of helping the Super Falcons make a deep run in the tournament

6. Roosa Ariyo - Club YLA

Born in Finland to a Nigerian father and a Finnish mother, Roosa Ariyo never hid her desire to play for Africa's most successful national team.

And in June 2021, the tall striker fulfilled a childhood dream when she made her senior debut for the Falcons in a 0–1 friendly loss to Jamaica.

She did not kick on with the Super Falcons afterwards after struggling with UDG Tenerife and Real Betis.

Ariyo has rediscovered her best form since moving to the Belgian Women's Super League, netting five goals in 13 games. And she could get another look-in ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

5. Toni Payne - Sevilla

Used primarily in defence for the Super Falcons, Toni Payne remains a key component in Sevilla's attacking setup.
Payne's first international outing with Nigeria ended in disappointment as the Falcons only finished fourth at Wafcon 2022.

The best of the 27-year-old midfielder could be unleashed at the World Cup, though, should the national team handlers deploy her in her best role.

4. Christy Ucheibe - SL Benfica

Ucheibe is one of Nigeria's most consistent performers in Europe, winning the Taça da Liga twice and the Portuguese women league in 2021.

After impressing for the Falcons in Morocco, the new year presents Ucheibe with the chance to appear at her first World Cup.

The former Nasarawa Amazons midfielder will also be aiming to power Benfica to another league and cup double in 2023.

3. Chiamaka Nnadozie - Paris FC

Nnadozie was only 19 when she starred as the number-one goalie for the Falcons at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, becoming the youngest goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet at the World Cup.

The former Rivers Angel shot-stopper was named the IFFHS Africa's Best Woman Goalkeeper in 2019 and has gone on to be regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers in Women’s football.

2023 could be even bigger for Nnadozie as she looks to secure UEFA Women's Champions League football with Paris FC and play an even more prominent role in her second appearance at the World Cup.

2. Rasheedat Ajibade - Atletico Madrid

Rasheedat Ajibade was Nigeria's best footballer and the tournament's top scorer at the Africa Women's Cup of Nations in Morocco.

There is more to come from the 2018 Wafcon winner and she is poised to be one of Nigeria's most influential stars at the next edition of the Mundial.

A vital player for Atletico Madrid, Ajibade has only won the Supercopa de Espana for the Spanish side since joining two years ago.

While Barcelona continues to dominate the Spanish Liga F, Ajibade will hope her heroics can help Atletico qualify for the Champions League.

1. Asisat Oshoala - FC Barcelona

Five-time Africa Women's Footballer of the Year award winner, Asisat Oshoala is arguably Nigeria's most successful female footballer.

Oshoala is a key member of the all-conquering Barcelona squad, lifting the UEFA Champions League in 2021 and becoming the first African woman to do so.

Oshoala built on that success in 2022, winning the top scorer award and getting nominated for the Ballon d'Or - also the first African woman - as Barcelona won the Spanish La Liga F.

The 28-year-old striker could reach new heights in 2023 as Barcelona seek to conquer Spain and Europe again while Nigeria target the knockout rounds at the 2023 World Cup. 

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