African players to watch
African players to watch

FIFA Women's World Cup 2023: African players to watch

With the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand starting this week, takes a look at some of the African players hoping to shine at the tournament.

Chiamaka Nnadozie - Nigeria

Age: 22

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Paris FC (France)

The youngest goalkeeper at France 2019, Nnadozie has grown over the last four years. After a stellar season with 11 clean sheets in 26 games to help Paris FC finish third and qualify for the UEFA Women's Champions League, the Nigerian's shot-stopping abilities will be key. Standing at 1.8m, she dominates the area and is strong on crosses and set-pieces.

Andile Dlamini - South Africa

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Age: 30

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Mamelodi Sundowns

Fresh off being named the best goalkeeper at the Women's Africa Cup of Nations 2022, Dlamini heads to her second World Cup. The Mamelodi Sundowns star is renowned for her one-on-one prowess thanks to speed off her line and positioning. Her reflexes and reach also make her a top shot-stopper.

Ireen Lungu - Zambia

Age: 25

Position: Midfielder

Club: BIIK Kazygurt (Kazakhstan)

A mobile midfielder, Lungu is aggressive on the ball and willing to take risks. She possesses excellent close control to retain possession in tight areas and draw fouls. Going forward, she shows creativity and guile to dictate play from the middle third with precise short and long passing.

Ghizlane Chebbak - Morocco

Age: 32

Position: Midfielder

Club: AS FAR (Morocco)

Voted player of the tournament at the Women's AFCON 2022, playmaker Chebbak has football pedigree as daughter of 1976 AFCON winner Larbi Chebbak. Equally adept as a box-to-box runner or advanced playmaker, her vision, passing range and set-piece delivery make her a key cog for Morocco.

Fatima Tagnaout - Morocco

Age: 24

Position: Forward

Club: AS FAR

Pace and creativity define Tagnaout's game. The versatile striker can play across the front line but prefers the left channel, cutting inside to shoot with her right foot. Her acceleration and top speed make her a constant threat on the counter, while clever movement creates space.

Asisat Oshoala - Nigeria

Age: 28

Position: Forward

Club: Barcelona (Spain)

A five-time African Women's Player of the Year, Oshoala thrives on the open field with her blistering speed. Though she can finish anywhere, her heading, hold-up play and athleticism make her a well-rounded striker. Intelligent runs in behind defences are a speciality of the prolific finisher.

Barbra Banda - Zambia

Age: 23

Position: Forward

Club: Shanghai Shengli (China)

Banda announced herself on the world stage at Tokyo 2020, becoming the first women's footballer to score back-to-back hat-tricks at an Olympics. Her pace with the ball creates space to shoot from distance or attack defences directly. Dropping deep to link play, she also provides key passes, while curling right-foot strikes echo Thierry Henry.

Thembi Kgatlana - South Africa

Age: 27

Position: Forward

Club: Racing Louisville (USA)

After missing most of the Women's AFCON 2022 through injury, Kgatlana is back fit to lead the line for Banyana Banyana. Boasting superb technique and explosive acceleration, her low centre of gravity helps in duels. Strong aerial abilities and smart movement round out the skillset of the 5'4'' striker.

Grace Chanda - Zambia

Age: 26

Position: Midfielder

Club: Madrid CFF (Spain)

At just 5'3", Chanda is arguably the top central midfielder in Africa currently. The Copper Queens captain dictates play with short and long passing, while also taking on defenders. To unsettle opponents, she frequently combines with the right back. Chanda's left-footed shooting stands out for its power and swerve, allowing her to beat goalkeepers regularly. Her set-piece delivery is equally dangerous. Defensively, she displays intelligence in cutting off passing lanes. Chanda's vision, creativity and well-rounded game make her the heartbeat of the Zambian midfield. Having spent her career with top Spanish clubs, the 26-year-old will arrive at the World Cup boasting valuable experience against elite European competition.

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