The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has been the best in history for African teams, and it will be remembered for ages to come.
All four CAF representatives recorded at least one win each, with three of them – Nigeria, South Africa, and Morocco – qualifying for the knockout rounds for the first time ever.
Several stars from these nations have created beautiful moments for fans, making it incredibly difficult to pick the team of the group stage.
However, here is Soccernet.ng‘s compilation of the continent’s Best XI at the football showpiece.
Goalkeeper: Chiamaka Nnadozie, Nigeria
Nnadozie has been one of the standout players at the World Cup and is rated Africa’s best and the second-best goalkeeper overall of the group stage, behind only Jamaica’s Rebecca Spencer.
She had the highest individual rating among players on the pitch against Canada and Australia.
Nnadozie kept two clean sheets in three games and also saved a crucial penalty that earned Nigeria a crucial point against Canada.
Left-back: Ashleigh Plumptre, Nigeria
The England-born defender has been a reliable and consistent performer in Nigeria’s back four.
She has featured in all of the Falcons’ three games, ensuring that Nigeria’s defence has conceded only once from open play at this tournament.
Plumptre, one of coach Randy Waldrum’s most-trusted players, excels with her solidity, technical ability, ball skills, and precise passing.
Centre-back: Nesryne El Chad, Morocco
Despite playing only the last eight minutes against Germany, El Chad’s impact was significant.
In the second game, the 20-year-old put on a masterclass performance beyond her age, helping Morocco secure a historic 1-0 win over South Korea.
She repeated her excellent showing in Morocco’s 1-0 win over Colombia, securing their spot in the Round of 16 in their maiden World Cup appearance.
Centre-back: Osinachi Ohale, Nigeria
Ohale paired up with youngster Tosin Demehin in the center of defence after partner Onome Ebi was benched.
The Spain-based defender ensured Ebi’s experience was not sorely missed and played a crucial role in keeping dangerous attackers away from Nigeria’s goal, scoring a key goal in the 2-1 win over Australia.
Ohale has been crucial in ensuring the Falcons boast Africa’s best defence in Australia and New Zealand.
Right-back: Hanane Aït El Haj, Morocco
Hanane Aït El Haj delivered a remarkable performance in Morocco’s historic 1-0 win over South Korea and provided the cross that led to their winning goal.
She was equally solid as Morocco kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 victory over Colombia, securing their spot in the Round of 16 in their first-ever World Cup appearance.
Defensive-midfield: Christy Ucheibe, Nigeria
Ucheibe is Nigeria’s midfield general. The 22-year-old has battled 16 more duels than anyone else.
The Benfica midfielder’s total of 18 tackles is twice as many as any of her team-mates, and she is one of only four Nigeria players to have found a team-mate more than 20 times in opposition territory.
Tenacious, unrelenting, and efficient, the youngster is the wall protecting Nigeria’s defence from being breached.
Attacking-midfield: Linda Motlhalo, South Africa
Motlhalo’s dynamic play and intelligence make her a standout midfielder for South Africa.
She has been crucial to South Africa’s impressive build-up play, with a successful dribble rate of 44% and an accurate passing rate of 78%.
The versatile midfielder scored one of South Africa’s goals against Argentina in her best performance at the Mundial.
Attacking Midfielder (Left): Racheal Kundananji, Zambia
Earlier heavy defeats overshadowed the Real Madrid striker’s performance, but she displayed her ability throughout the group stage.
Kundananji’s efforts in Zambia’s victory over Costa Rica were commendable, contributing a goal in their 3-1 win.
Attacking Midfielder (Right): Hildah Magaia, South Africa
Magaia’s fleet-footed, tireless, and versatile play has been a delight to watch in the exciting South African side.
She scored South Africa’s first goal at the tournament against Italy and was crucial in their qualification to the next round.
Striker: Barbra Banda, Zambia
Banda’s near-perfect display against Costa Rica showcased her attacking abilities, as she scored a goal, assisted another, and earned the Player of the Match award.
Despite Zambia’s early exit, her talent was evident on the world stage.
Striker: Thembi Kgatlana, South Africa
Kgatlana’s excellence and determination have been unmatched by any African star at the World Cup.
Her performances were crucial in South Africa’s historic qualification to the knockout round, including her brilliant goal and assist against Argentina and the late winning strike against Italy.
Do you agree with this list? Who do you think should be on the list or out of it? Leave your answers in the comments!