Nigerian youngster, Asisat Oshoala, has been nominated for the first ever BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award alongside four other women football players.
The BBC World Service announced the five nominations on Sunday evening including Spain’s Veronica Boquete, Germany’s Nadine Kessler, Brazilian Marta and Kim Little from Scotland.
“This award is a very good thing for women’s football – it can really help us by encouraging other countries to support their ladies and treat them the same way they treat the men,” said the excited Oshoala.
The 20-year-old Oshoala, who features for Liverpool Ladies FC in the FA Women’s Super League in England, came to the limelight at the 2014 Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada where she netted seven goals winning the Golden Shoe Award.
Her first tournament goal was a 59th minute winner to guide the Falconets past England 2-1 before she scored a brace to ensure a 4-1 victory against New Zealand in the knockout stage.
In the semifinals, her flair and ability to finish in the final third saw her net a remarkable four times in a massive 6-2 win against North Korea to progress to the final against Germany. Even though they lost 1-0 to the Europeans, Oshoala had made her mark and she became the first African player to bag the Golden Ball Award.
This brilliant performance earned her a place on the senior team and saw Nigerian head coach, Edwin Okon, select the youngster in the starting XI ahead of four-time African Women’s Footballer of the Year Perpetua Nkwocha.
Oshoala netted her first senior team goal in a 6-0 emphatic win over Zambia in a Group A match before scoring a brace to eliminate South Africa 2-1 in the semifinals guiding Nigeria to the Fifa Women’s World Cup for a record seventh time.
Her fourth and final goal at the two-week tournament was an addition to teammate Desire Oparanozie’s opening strike as Nigeria defeated Cameroon 2-0 to win their eighth record continental title. Oshoala was named the best player of the tournament.
On January 23 this year, Oshoala signed for Liverpool Ladies FC in the FA Women’s Super League from Nigerian side River Angels and scored her first goal in a 2-1 win over Birmingham on April 1 before setting up Fara Williams.
To celebrate her nomination for the BBC Award on Sunday, Oshoala netted Liverpool’s opening goal before setting up Norwegian Line Smorsgard as the Merseysiders defeated Manchester City 2-1 to send them to third place on the table standings with six points behind table leaders Chelsea (12) and Arsenal (10).
The winner will be revealed on BBC World Service on May 26 after being decided by a public vote.
Voting is open now and closes on May 11 at 09:00 GMT (10am CAT). A panel of experts – including administrators, journalists, coaches and former players – decided the shortlist.
Fans can vote online through the BBC website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/womens/wfoty-vote/2015) or by SMS. To vote for BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2015 by SMS, text the number of the player you wish to vote for to +44 7786 20 20 04. Text 1 for Veronica Boquete, 2 for Nadine Kessler, 3 for Kim Little, 4 for Marta and 5 for Asisat Oshoala.