By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Three Nigerian players have been nominated for the women’s Young Player of the Year prize as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) dolled out nominees for the 2023 CAF Awards.
They are Deborah Abiodun, Opeyemi Esther Ajakaye, and Tosin Demehin.
Abiodun and Demehin represented the Super Falcons at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand after their progression from the U-20 team.
Demehin captained the U-20 side to the quarter-final of the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
She had since been an integral part of the Super Falcons defence and was part of the team that kept three clean sheets in four World Cup games this year.
Abiodun’s World Cup dream was cut short after a red card on her debut game against Canada, but she announced herself to the world with her impressive display.
The midfielder is a major member of the University of Pittsburgh team which reached the 2023 ACC Championship semi-final.
Ajakaye recently played her debut match for Nigeria’s senior women’s national team against Ethiopia in the return leg of the Paris 2024 Olympics Qualifiers second round match.
The FC Robo Queens forward was Nigeria’s U-17 team’s highest goal scorer during Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Other nominees for the young player prize are Comfort Yeboah (Ghana), Mary Amponsah (Ghana), Nesryne El Chad (Morocco), Hapsatou Diallo (Senegal), Thubellihe Shamase (South Africa), Winifred Gerald (Tanzania), and Fauzia Najemba (Uganda).
The Awards Gala is scheduled for 11 December 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco.