As we close in on the year, Connect Nigeria presents you a list of Nigerian women that have been outstanding in sports during the course of the year.
Top on our list is FC Barcelona Femini and Super Falcons of Nigeria forward, Asisat Oshoala. Super Zee as she is fondly called for her pace and power joined the female team of Barcelona earlier this year and has witnessed tremendous success since the move. Oshoala would go on to play a major role in FCB Femini’s road to the final of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, becoming the first African to score in the competition despite a 4-1 loss to Lyon in the final. At the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, Oshoala matched retired Rita Nwadike’s record as only the second Nigerian to score in two different World Cups. She wrapped up the year in contention for the CAF African Women’s Footballer of the Year award.
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Onome made history this year by becoming the first footballer in Africa, both in the men and women football categories, to feature in five FIFA World Cups. The Super Falcons central back achieved this feat at the age of 36, an age most footballers could have long quitted the game. She played all four games for the Falcons at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Nigerian sprint queen, Okagbare, has been one of the most consistent Nigerian athletes in recent times. Okagbare won the Diamond League in Rabat, Morrocco in June 2019, she put up a brilliant show to knockdown the tape with a Season Best Time of 11.05secs, an incredible feat by the Commonwealth gold medalist. She would make a back to back victory in July 2019, by beating Elaine Thompson at the US Meet to emerge winner of the 200m race at the Prefontaine Classics.
Adekuruoye emerged the second-best female wrestler in the world in her weight class (57kg). The Nigerian wrestler was a bronze medalist at the 2019 Wrestling World Championship in Kazakhstan.
The highlight of Ese’s career in 2019 was at the World Championship in Athletics in Doha where she won bronze in the long jump event, leaping a distance of 6.91m to emerge as the second Nigerian to make the medals podium at the competition after Okagbare who won silver in 2013. She also became only the third Nigerian to make it to the final of the World Championship after Chioma Ajunwa and Blessing Okagbare.
Amusan shocked the world of athletics in Africa after breaking a 20-year old record held by another Nigerian, Gloria Alozie, to win the 100m hurdles event at the 12th All Africa Games in Morocco. Her time of 12.68 seconds beat Alozie’s 12.74 seconds time at the 1999 edition of the continental showpiece.
Super Falcons goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie, witnessed tremendous success in her career this year. 18-year old Nnadozie featured in all but one of Nigeria’s matches at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. Her exceptional display at the global showpiece saw her named the best female goalkeeper in Africa by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), and ranked 16th in the world. Nnadozie who also enjoyed success at the domestic level, helping Rivers Angels win the Nigerian Women Premier League Super Four. She was also the only goalkeeper to be nominated for the African Women Footballer of the Year award though she was eliminated from the list prior to the final phase.
Elonu has been in superlative form for Nigeria’s women basketball team. She captained the team to victory at the FIBA Women’s Afrobasket Championship in Senegal to retain the title they won in 2017.
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On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, Maria Worphil was conferred the Veteran Pin Award by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for her outstanding dedication and commitment to athletics. Worphil, one of the longest-serving Secretary Generals of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria received the award at the Qatar National Convention Centre.
Oparanozie makes the cut for captaining the Nigerian women national football team to one of the country’s most successful outing at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the second round of 16 finish at the tournament. She also made the news this year for campaigning for equal pay for the Falcons just as Eagles.
Featured Image Source: Silverbird News24
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