Oscarine Masuluke loses Puskas Award to Arsenal's Olivier Giroud

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The 24-year-old was hoping to become the first-ever African to win the prize

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud beat Baroka FC goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke to the Fifa Puskas Award on Monday.

The duo had made the top three shortlist for the accolade along with Deyna Castellanos of the Venezuela U17 women’s team.

South African shot-stopper Masuluke scored a stunning stoppage-time bicycle kick, while Castellanos netted straight from kick-off with a memorable strike from the half-way line.

Masuluke had been backed by international stars such as Nigerian legend Jay-Jay Okocha, legendary Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo for the prize.

However, Frenchman Giroud won the accolade for his scorpion-kick goal against Crystal Palace at the Best Fifa Football Awards 2017 in London, England.

Masuluke, who hails from N'wamankena, a village in the greater Giyani, Mopani District, was the first African to make it into the top three for Fifa’s Puskas Award.

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Several Africans have been nominated for the prestigious award in the past including Masuluke's countryman Hlompho Kekana last year.

But Masuluke is the first African to qualify for the final round of public voting.

 

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