Nigeria’s Super Falcons and Liverpool Ladies player, Asisat Oshoala, was on Sunday nominated along with four other players for the inaugural BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award.
The other nominees include Spain’s Veronica Boquete, Germany’s Nadine Kessler and Scotland’s Kim Little and Brazilian forward Marta.
Oshoala, who joined the Reds in January 2015, was named the best player of the 2014 Under-20 World Cup and was top scorer as Nigeria reached the final.
“I worked hard last year but I am surprised to be nominated and I feel very appreciated,” said Oshoala. “This award is a very good thing for women’s football,” Oshoala continued. It can really help us by encouraging other countries to support their ladies more and treat them the same way they treat the men.”
The shortlist is completed by Spain’s Verónica Boquete, Germany’s Nadine Kessler and the Brazilian legend Marta, who joined Oshoala in highlighting the award as a sign that the women’s game is growing globally.
“When I was younger I had to overcome many things: I was the only girl and I used to have to play with the boys. It was complicated and difficult. It’s better today. The girls don’t have the same difficulties being accepted,” Marta said.
Mary Hockaday, controller of the BBC World Service English, said: “The five shortlisted players represent an incredible array of talent and show the growing strength of the women’s game. The vote is now open to fans to choose their favourite player.”
The vote will close on Monday 11 May at 10am, with the winner revealed on the BBC World Service on 26 May. The shortlist was selected by a panel of experts including administrators, journalists, coaches and former players.