International Women's Day: Africa's greatest women footballers of the last 10 years

Last Updated
Goal

  1. Desire Oparanozie
    Backpage

    Desire Oparanozie

    One of the best African strikers of the decade, Oparanozie has arguably been under-celebrated for her numerous achievements and quality.

    She's not only dangerous and fast, but also physically very robust and strong in one-on-one duels. The Nigerian has weighed in with a series of important goals in recent years.

    Ever since her youth, she has distinguished herself as a talented striker, finding the net five times in back-to-back U-20 Women's World Cup events two years after her U-17 outing in New Zealand.

    Since 2010, she has been part of the Super Falcons, scoring crucial goals in the 2014 and 2016 finals to celebrate four African Women's Cup of Nations titles. Notably, in 2014, the 27-year-old also emerged top scorer with five goals at the Awcon in Namibia.

    In 2019, she captained Nigeria to the Women's World Cup knockout stage in France for the first time in 20 years.

  2. Elizabeth Addo of Ghana
    Goal SA

    Elizabeth Addo

    Addo is one of Ghana's most successful women football players in history, and has made her name as a fantastic midfielder with great scoring ability.

    After launching her career with Tesano Ladies in 2006, she went on to play for Nigerian club Rivers Angels, ZFK Spartak Subotica of Serbia, Hungarian side Ferencvaros, and Kvarnsvedens in Sweden.

    In the US, Addo also starred for Seattle Reign, Australian club Western Sydney Wanderers and, in 2019, won a quadruple with Chinese club Jiangsu Suning as well as a silver medal at the inugural Asian Women's Club Championship in her debut season.

    At international level, Addo played for the Ghanaian U-14s, U-17s, U-20s and U-23s national teams as well as the senior side.

    Since making her Black Queens debut in 2012, she has earned over 25 caps, including at both the 2016 and 2018 Women's Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, and is into double figures for goals.

  3. Racheal Kundananji, Onome Ebi
    Backpagepix

    Onome Ebi

    Ebi is arguably Africa's most consistent women's footballer of the last 10 years, having featured in virtually all of Nigeria's games in international competitions held in the 2010s. 

    She hit the milestone in July 2019 as the first African to play in five Fifa World Cups following her appearances at the 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 editions of the tournament. 

    The veteran defender won two titles with Atasehir Belediyespor in Turkey, and featured in the Uefa Women's Champions League with Minsk in Belarus. Despite being a defender, she is also fantastic in front of goal, scoring eight times for her Chinese side Henan Huishiang in the last two seasons. 

    At 37, she has won four African Women's Cup of Nations titles, and was named Nigeria's Women's Player of the Year 2018.

    The Henan Jianye star is still going strong.

  4. Janine Van Wyk , Oshoala
    Backpagepix

    Janine Van Wyk

    Van Wyk stands out as one of the most decorated South African female athletes in history.

    At Palace Super Falcons, she was a three-time Sasol league winner at club level and went on to gain professional experience abroad, playing in the US with Houston Dash and then Danish club Fortuna Hjorring.

    The veteran defender will always be remembered for her famous goal for Banyana Banyana that denied reigning African champions Nigeria silverware at the 2012 African Women's Cup of Nations.

    Before gaining 172 South Africa caps—more than any of her compatriots in history—Van Wyk was part of Banyana's back-to-back outings at the Olympic Games in London 2012 and Rio 2016, where she was the captain of the national side.

    She is also the first skipper to lead South Africa to a maiden senior World Cup event.

    She lifted her fourth Cosafa Cup title in August 2019 and is the founder of JVW, who won the 2019 Sasol League National Championship, thereby earning a promotion to the top flight.

  5. Ange N'Guessan - Cote d'Ivoire
    Fifciv media

    Ange N'Guessan

    N'Guessan is easily recongised on the field for her speed, movement and brilliant finishing in the colours of the Les Elephants.

    The 30-year-old starred as Cote d'Ivoire upset South Africa at the 2014 African Women's Cup of Nations to qualify for a maiden Women's World Cup in Canada, and is currently on the books of Tenerife.

    In 2015, her goal against Norway was voted as one of the ten best goals of the World Cup, and she became the first African female to sign for Barcelona in 2017 after her Champions League exploits with Gintra Universitetas and Anorthosis Famagusta, where she netted 17 goals in 13 games.

    She helped Cote d'Ivoire eliminate Nigeria to reach the fourth round of the Caf 2020 Olympic qualifiers and was nominated for the 2019 African Women's Player of the Year award.

  6. Gaelle Enganamouit
    Getty Images

    Gaelle Enganamouit

    Enganamouit shot to prominence on the international stage when she scored the fastest goal in women's football history, after just two seconds, for Spartak Subotica in Serbia!

    The 28-year-old starred in Cameroon's first Olympic Games in London 2012 and then their first Women's World Cup three years later in Canada.

    She scored a hat-trick in the 6-0 group win over Ecuador to become the first African to score three in a Women's World Cup match during the 2015 edition, and capped that year by winning the Damallsvenskan top scorer award with 18 goals.

    She also won the 2015 African Women's Player of the Year prize, and was nominated for the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2016.

  7. Ngozi Okobi - Nigeria
    Getty Images

    Ngozi Okobi

    Okobi has been one of the pillars of the Super Falcons for the last decade, and has been hugely involved both in the continental and international competitions.

    Having impressed in the inaugural U-17 Women's World Cup in New Zealand in 2008, the midfielder was promoted to the senior team, thereby making the World Cup party for Japan 2011.

    She also starred for her country at the 2012 U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan where the Falconets finished fourth in the tournament.

    Okobi has been at every edition of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations since 2010, and winning the title on four occasions - 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

    The 27-year-old, who dazzles in the coveted No. 10 role, claimed a Women's World Cup Player of the Match award after inspiring Nigeria's 3-3 comeback against Sweden in 2015.

    Her outstanding display in Canada saw her voted the Nigeria Sports Award's Women's Player of the Year in 2015, beating teammates Asisat Oshoala and Desire Oparanozie to the gong.

    Before moving abroad in that same year, Okobi has previously celebrated six domestic titles with Delta Queens, including five league crowns in Nigeria. She launched her professional career with National Women's Soccer League club Washington Spirit in 2015 before signing for Swedish side Vittsjo in 2016.

    Two years later, she joined rivals Eskilstuna United and helped them to a fourth-place finish in the Damasvenkan in the 2019 season.

  8. Gabrielle Onguene of Cameroon
    Todd Korol/Getty Images

    Gabrielle Onguene

    Arguably the best winger of the decade, with her ability to create chances, her dribbling and pace in wide areas for the Indomitable Lionesses.

    Gabrielle made her Indomitable Lionesses debut in 2008. Her goal ensured Cameroon edged South Africa in the semis and they went on to claim gold at the African Games in 2011.

    She scored Cameroon's only goal at their Olympic Games outing in London 2012, and was named the tournament's Best Player as the Central Africans finished second at the 2016 African Women's Cup of Nations.

    She also played at two Women's World Cup finals (2015 and 2019), registering a goal in each.

    At club level, Onguene won three titles with Cameroonian side Louves Miniproff de Yaounde, and played for Russian side Rossiyanka before joining CSKA Moscow, where she lifted her first domestic title in Europe in 2019.

    Consistent excellence across the course of the last 10 years...

  9. Tabitha Chawinga - Jiangsu Suning
    FB/TabithaChawinga

    ​Tabitha Chawinga

    Despite hailing from one of Africa's lesser lights, and therefore not winning any international honours, a case could be made that Chawinga is the most lethal African striker over the last decade.

    The absence of Malawi from continental showpieces, along with the poor visibility of the women's game, has shut the door of glory on Chawinga, but she's nonetheless been a relentless goalscorer.

    The DD Sunshine product found a breakthrough 13 years after playing on the streets with boys as she was snapped up by a Swedish third division club Krokom/Dvarsatts IF in 2014.

    As the first women's footballer from Malawi to play aboard, Tabitha did not disappoint as she turned out to be a goalscoring queen in Sweden, registering 123 goals in three season. In the process, she won two top scorer awards, including the Damallsvenskan prize, when she netted 26 times for Kvarnsvedens in 2017. 

    Amidst interest from top European clubs, she was poached by China's Jiangsu Suning, and duly emerged as the country's top scorer with 17 goals on her debut season as her new club finished as runners-up.

    In 2019, she struck 38 times to help Jiangsu to a domestic quadruple and a silver medal at the inaugural Asian Women's Club Championship, and recently joined sister Temwa at Wuhan.

    Upon Malawi's maiden entry to continental competition in 2019, Chawinga showed class, and made the longlist for the 2019 African Women's Player of the Year award.

  10. Asisat Oshoala Nigeria

    Asisat Oshoala

    Oshoala established her legacy as one of Africa's best of the decade since she shot into the international limelight in 2014.

    That year, she claimed the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada, before winning the first of her three African Women's Cup of Nations title in Namibia.

    The 26-year-old went on to claim the inaugural BBC Women's Player of the Year prize, three African Women's Player of the Year gongs along with Nigeria Sports Awards and Nigeria Pitch Awards among others.

    She became the first African female player to secure a professional move to England after joining Liverpool in 2015, and, a year later, moved to Arsenal where she won the FA Cup.

    In a search for greener pastures, she signed for Chinese club Dalian Quanjian, where she won four domestic honours in two seasons before making a surprise loan switch to Barcelona in Spain.

    Having scored eight goals in 11 games for Barcelona on an initial loan spell, including her side's only goal in Champions League final against Lyon, she earned a three-year permanent deal in June 2019, and also became the first African to play and score in the European elite women's club competition.

    Since then, the goals have flown in, and in 2020 she won a domestic quadruple including the Spanish top flight and Copa de la Reina.

    At international level, Oshoala inspired Nigeria to a Women's World Cup knockout phase for the first time in two decades in France in 2019. Is she on course to be crowned the greatest of all time?