Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala deserves better from FIFA

Asisat Oshoala was left out of the shortlist for the FIFA Best Women's Player of the Year award

OPINION Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala deserves better from FIFA

Joba Ogunwale 11:41 - 13.01.2023
The Nigerian international was left out of the nominees' list for the FIFA Best Women's player award.

On Thursday, FIFA announced the nominees for this year's The Best Awards. As with previous awards, the nominees for The Best Women's player were announced, with 14 players making the cut.

There were some popular names on the list, as expected. The likes of Ballon d'Or winners Alexia Putellas and Ada Hegerberg, USA's Alex Morgan, and Arsenal star Vivianne Miedema were all recognised.

Euro 2021 top scorer Alexandra Popp alongside Wendie Renard and Arsenal's Beth Mead were also included. However, while some of the familiar names were included, there was a big omission on the list.

Oshoala's brilliant season 

Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala was left out of the list despite her brilliant performances for Barcelona over the course of last season.

The 28-year-old had one of her best seasons and years ever in 2022 despite her injury woes. Oshoala played a vital role in Barcelona's league triumph, finishing as the division's joint-top scorer with 19 goals in 20 matches.

The former Liverpool star also showed her exploits on the continent with four goals in five Champions League games for La Blaugranes.

However, despite putting up these impressive numbers, it was not good enough to earn her a spot on FIFA's list, which once again reinforces the point that these individual awards are just popularity contests.

Asisat Oshoala had a fantastic season with Barcelona but it was not recognised by FIFA

The panel involved in these selections do not watch the matches and only pick these players based on their popularity. While Oshoala likely would not have won the award, she deserved to at least get a nomination.

Oshoala deserves FIFA's recognition

Looking at the names nominated, the Nigerian international had a better year individually than several of the players who were named. 

Lyon's Ada Hegerberg was nominated over Oshoala

While this is not to downplay the quality of some players, Oshoala deserved a spot ahead of players like Jesse Fleming, Lena Oberdorf and even Hegerberg.

Even though some of the players do not play an attacking role, Oshoala still had a better year than some of the attackers nominated.

Hegerberg, for example, scored just ten goals and recorded five assists for Lyon last season. Still, she was nominated ahead of Oshoala, who finished as the Spanish top division top scorer.

While many may use their performances in Europe as an argument, Oshoala also trumps her there. In fact, Hegerberg had a Champions League campaign to forget, while Oshoala scored four goals in five Champions League matches.

Although injuries did not help Oshoala's cause, she did enough to get nominated, which was why she was nominated for the Ballon d'Or, although she eventually finished in 16th place. 

Asisat Oshoala won the CAF player of the year in 2022

But at least the award organisers recognised her performances, something FIFA failed to acknowledge. 

Business has resumed as usual since she returned from her injury. This season, she already has five goals and one assist in 12 league games for Barcelona.

This is not the first time FIFA will omit Oshoala from their list when she should have been nominated. In 2020, the 28-year-old was also left out after another brilliant individual campaign in the 2019/2020 season.

Considering these two obvious omissions happened in the last two years, it is fair to say The Best Women's Player is Euro-centric.

Almost all the names on the list play their football in Europe, except for Alex Morgan, who plays for San Diego Wave FC of the National Women's Soccer League in the United States.

Also, given the Euros was played last year, FIFA had more reason to nominate mostly European players, which is not fair. 

While performances in international tournaments should count towards an award, it should not be the main criteria, especially for a category like The Best Women's Player.

Else, FIFA are saying players who do not play in the Euros and the World Cup are not considered for nominations. But since this is not the case, FIFA has once again failed to recognise Oshoala's excellent performances with a The Best nomination.

It only shows again the award is mainly a popularity contest, and does not reward the best.

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