Now that the Women’s World Cup 2023 tournament has grown from 24 to 32 teams, Africa will send four teams for the first time.
World Cup debutants Morocco and Zambia will join defending champions South Africa and nine-time African champions Nigeria at the month-long competition that concludes on August 20.
This article in Enasmag will profile four significant players for the continent’s representation before a tournament in which Africa has yet to crack the quarterfinal barrier.
Australia and New Zealand, the tournament’s co-hosts, play their first games on the tournament’s opening day, July 20.
Brief African teams players infos : Women’s World Cup 2023
Asisat Oshoala – Nigeria National Team
Oshoala is the biggest name in women’s football in Africa, and rightfully so.
Oshoala has been one of the best players on the African continent ever since she burst onto the scene as the tournament’s top scorer and best player at the Under-20 World Cup in 2014.
Asisat has scored in both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, and has won three Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) titles and been named player of the tournament on two occasions.
If she scores at this tournament, she will set a new record by scoring in three different Women’s World Cups, and she will likely win her sixth consecutive African Women’s Footballer of the Year title.
The World Cup will mark the fourth consecutive season in which the Barcelona star has scored 20 or more goals and the second consecutive year in which he has been the team’s leading scorer for the European champions.
Oshoala is a complete attacker who can dominate with power and speed, but it is her cerebral movement on and off the ball that really sets her apart and makes it so difficult for defenders to keep up with her on her day.
Nigerians are hoping she can avoid the injuries that forced her to miss last year’s World Cup and prevented her from playing in Barca’s Champions League final victory over Wolfsburg in May.
Barbra Banda – Zambia National Team
Banda, at only 23 years old, is one of the most intriguing artists in Africa and another who unfortunately missed Wafcon.
In 2021, the striker stunned the world by becoming the first player in Olympic history to score back-to-back hat-tricks before his team, Zambia, was eliminated in the group stage.
Banda’s progress, however, was halted last year when she was disqualified from Wafcon due to a gender eligibility dispute.
Leader by example, skipper Banda remained in Morocco to guide her squad to a record third-place finish off the field.
Banda and Zambia got lucky when she was cleared to play again and returned with scary ease, hitting 10 goals in five games at the Cosafa Cup in September.
Women’s World Cup 2023
With Banda, whose blistering speed may leave center backs for dust, Zambia, who are making their debut, are expected to play conservatively and counter-attack.
Now that Barbra teamed up with Racheal Kundananji, who scored 25 goals in Spain’s premier division last season, the combo has the potential to be one of the most dangerous assaults in Australia.
Refiloe Jane – South Africa National Team
Jane, the small midfielder who is the lifeblood of the African champions, may be the most modest player on our list, but she may also be the most crucial.
Jane is a pivotal player for Banyana Banyana as a deep-lying playmaker, central to the style of football favored by coach Desiree Ellis.
She sits in front of the defense and has a great passing range, letting the attacking prowess of South Africa shine.
After making her debut for South Africa in the 2012 Olympics, Jane has played in every major tournament thereafter, amassing over a hundred caps in the process.
When longtime captain Janine van Wyk went down with an injury, she stepped up to co-captain the team last year and helped guide them to their first Wafcon title with a victory over Morocco.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for Jane, who played professionally for the Italian club Sassuolo (after a brief stint with Milan) before going to the Australian W League club Canberra United in 2019.
Jane will be crucial to South Africa’s prospects when they compete in the tournament for the second time, despite the fact that she is not expected to score many goals or garner much attention.
Ghizlane Chebbak – Morocco National Team
While South Africa and Nigeria received most of the attention at last year’s WAFcon, the hosts, Morocco, astonished the world by making it all the way to the championship game, led by the tournament’s most outstanding player, Ghizlane Chebbak.
Ghizlane, the captain of the Atlas Lionesses, guided them to their first Cup of Nations appearance in 20 years and ultimately to World Cup qualification. Her father, former men’s international Larbi Chebbak, won the event in 1976.
Chebbak was the tournament’s undisputed leader and top scorer, finishing Wafcon tied for first place in both categories.
Chebbak is a natural striker, despite playing in the midfield. She has won 10 consecutive titles with AS FAR in Morocco’s top league and is now her country’s all-time leading scorer.
In the final against Mamelodi Sundowns in November, she led the team to their first African Champions League title.
Chebbak is also an excellent set-piece specialist; whether it’s a free-kick, corner, or penalty, she almost never makes a mistake with her delivery, which might be crucial for the new players.
Chebbak, who plays as a number 10 or in a midfield three for the Atlas Lionesses, is the team’s central creative force.
Her technique and smarts in the last third more than make up for her lack of raw speed.