By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com – Cameroon
Indomitable Lionesses and Valerenga forward Ajara Nchout Njoya, Super Falcons and FC Barcelona’s Asisat Oshoala and South Africa and Beijing BG Phoenix FC’s Thembi Kgatlana, have been shortlisted for the female African Player of the Year Award.
Ajara will battle Oshoala and Kgatlana to try and win the award for the first time. If Ajara succeeds to win the award, she will become only the second Cameroonian player to do so after Gaël Enganamouit, who won the award in 2015.
The three players have been named as the final three contenders for the award, which currently belongs to 23-year old Thembi Kgatlana. Ajara is the only nominee amongst the three contenders never to have won the award before.
Asisat Oshoala was crowned in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
Though Ajara has never won the award before, she is the red hot favourite to walk home with this year’s award.
The 26-year-old Valerenga forward has netted 11 league goals in 22 games this season and has been the driving force for the Indomitable Lionesses, who are at the verge of sealing a place for Tokyo 2020 with Zambia as their last huddle.
She helped Cameroon qualify for the 2019 FIFA World Cup and scored one of the goals of the tournament against NewZealand which qualified them for a place in the knockout stages of the competition.
Her closest competitor is Nigeria’s Oshoala who has been in fine form for club and country as usual though the African Champions were stunned by Côte d’Ivoire at the third round of the qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Reigning African Women’s footballer of the Year, Thembi Kgatlana scored freely for Bayana Bayana as they sealed a maiden FIFA World Cup spot. She has also been in fine form for both club and country.
Premier League Stars Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah of Liverpool FC and Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City are shortlisted for the Men’s award. With Salah looking to claim the award for a third consecutive time, while 2016 winner Mahrez will be eyeing a second crown, though Mane is the favorite.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Hurghada in Egypt on January 7, 2020.
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