The 23rd edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup has drawn to a close, and it is Spain that emerges as the champions, following a hard-fought victory over England in the final showdown, Soccernet.ng reports.
While Spain basks in their glory, this tournament will be remembered for a historic African performance, with three Confederation of African Football (CAF) representatives breaking through the group stages, marking a record-making achievement.
Nigeria, Morocco, and South Africa may have bowed out at the first knockout stage, but they have etched their names in the annals of Women’s World Cup history.
FIFA has just released the statistics of the most outstanding players of this edition held in Australia and New Zealand, and it comes as no surprise that African stars shone brightly.
Nigeria’s Christy Ucheibe emerged as the seventh-best tackler throughout the tournament, making her the finest from Africa with a staggering 36 tackles.
Ucheibe also scaled the charts, landing in the top four for tackles made per 90 minutes (7.4). South Africa’s Bongeka Gamede was not far behind, securing the sixth spot with 7.0 tackles per 90 minutes.
Ucheibe and South Africa’s Bambanani Mbane also stood out for their blocking prowess, featuring prominently in the top ten for most blocks made and blocks made per 90 minutes.
Interestingly, the Super Falcons faced one of the fiercest shots of the tournament, as Chloe Kelly’s penalty for England clocked in at a blistering 110.79 km/h against Nigeria’s goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie.
Sevilla’s Toni Payne held the mantle of the Super Falcons’ number one attacking midfielder, and the stats prove her excellence. With two chances created per 90 minutes, she stood tall as the best in Africa and among the top ten worldwide in this category.
Morocco’s Sakina Ouzraoui and South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana showcased their dribbling skills, each notching up six successful dribbles at the World Cup. This placed them as the best two Africans and among the top ten globally.
Kgatlana, besides her dribbling prowess, also had the most attempts on goal of any African, firing off 20 shots, although she could only convert two into goals.
Impressively, despite South Africa’s early exit, Kgatlana retained her global ranking as the player with the most attempts on goal per 90 minutes at the World Cup.
In the speed department, Zambia’s Racheal Kundananji and Kgatlana emerged as the fastest Africans at the Mundial, clocking in at top speeds of 33.2 km/h and 33.0 km/h, respectively.
On the goalkeeping front, South Africa’s Kaylin Swart secured the top position with 14 saves.
In the overall ranking released by FIFA, the Super Falcons find themselves as the tenth-best team out of the 32 participating nations, a remarkable feat considering their lower standing at number 40 on FIFA’s global rankings.
As the curtains fall on the 23rd FIFA Women’s World Cup, the spotlight shines brightly on these African stars who have left an indelible mark on the world stage, and their achievements will undoubtedly inspire a new generation of talent from the continent.