Garba Lawal has warned Nigerians not to rule out reigning African Women’s Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala from being crowned as the winner again on Tuesday in Dakar, Senegal.
Oshoala who has won the award on three occasions will be gunning for a fourth crown but faces a strong challenge from Francesca Ordega and Thembi Kgatlana.
The ex-Super Eagles star reckons that last season might have been less glamorous for the Super Falcons but she was still able to distinguish herself in the Chinese Women’s Super League where her club Dalian Quanjian are currently leading the pack and also helping Nigeria to claim her ninth African Women’s Cup of Nations title in Ghana last month.
“I can’t rule Oshoala out of the award because she is reigning queen and it wasn’t as if she had a bad year like that in all ramifications,” Lawal told Goal.
“Oshoala played very well for her club in the Chinese Women’s Super League and she also tried her best during the African Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana. She didn’t play up to her expectations but she still tried her best scoring some crucial goals to ensure that we won the competition again.
"I will say she deserves it again even though her strongest opposition will be from the South African player (Kgatlana).
“She still has some few years before she decides what will be next of her career and I will like to charge her to rediscover herself and forget about her previous awards to ensure that she recaptures the form she was before that earned her three African Women’s Player of the Year recognition.
"No matter how the award ends this year, she should be happy that she has the opportunity to correct her wrongs in 2019.”
The Falcons forward must beat off opposition from Houston Dash striker, Kgatlana who was named the Best Player and top scorer of the 2018 African Women's Cup of Nations held in Ghana and Ordega who besides scoring two goals and two assists at the 2018 AWCON enroute to Falcons' ninth title, also helped Atletico Madrid to retain the Primera Division (women) title in Spain last season while playing on loan from Washington Spirit of the United States