Nigeria international and Linköping of Sweden forward Uchenna Kanu topped the Women’s Power rankings for the month of October according to ESPN. The Super Falcons ace was not only on target for her club when it matters most but also scored for her country making her an all rounder within the period under review.
The former junior international was thus the star for both club and country, while Namibia’s Zenatha Coleman was also back to her breathtaking best in October, which sees a new name top the women’s rankings.
The usual suspects, Asisat Oshoala, Thembi Kgatlana, and Barbra Banda, also feature with competition at the top as stiff as ever.
- Uchenna Kanu, Linköpings
Kanu, who has been steadily improving in recent years, fully came into her own this month, playing probably the best football of her career for Linköpings and Nigeria.
Although October began with a 3-0 defeat to Vittsjö, Kanu scored in three successive Damallsvenskan matches thereafter. She was on target in a 2-1 loss to Rosengård and a 5-0 thrashing of Växjö, before rounding off in style with a hat-trick in the 3-1 away win over Hammarby.
For Nigeria, Kanu proved decisive as she scored both goals in the 2-0 home win over Ghana in Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifying. The Super Falcons lost the reverse fixture 1-0, but progressed to the next round on aggregate.
- Zenatha Coleman, Sevilla
Coleman was the hero for Namibia as the Brave Gladiators picked up an upset win over COSAFA Women’s Cup champions Tanzania in AWCON qualifying. In a 5-3 aggregate victory consisting of a 2-1 win in Dar-es-Salaam and a 3-2 triumph in Johannesburg, Coleman scored all five goals for Namibia.
She was also on target at club level for Sevilla as she scored in a 2-1 away win over her former club, Valencia.
- Asisat Oshoala, Barcelona
Oshoala was in tremendous goalscoring form for Barcelona throughout October. She scored in successive matches against Deportivo Alavés, Arsenal, and Atlético Madrid. However, she failed to find the back of the net for Nigeria in either leg of their 2-1 AWCON qualifying win.
Oshoala has not scored for the Super Falcons since February’s clash with Equatorial Guinea, but Nigeria nevertheless advanced to the next round, which trumps all in terms of importance.
The striker did not score against Køge or Sporting de Huelva, but Barcelona’s winning form continued. Oshoala was back amongst the goals in an 8-1 drubbing of Real Sociedad as she rounded off the month with a brace.
- Linda Motlhalo, Djurgårdens
Motlhalo was in sublime form for Banyana Banyana as she bagged braces in both the home and away legs of a 13-0 aggregate drubbing of Mozambique.
For a midfielder who puts in plenty of hard work and has a penchant for defence-splitting passes, it was fitting for her to find the back of the net on multiple occasions.
At club level, it was a disappointing month for Djurgårdens as they lost to Eskilstuna United, KIF Örebro, Kristianstad, and Häcken. However, Motlhalo remains a shining light in the team.
- Ajara Nchout, Inter Milan
Nchout recently joined Inter Milan from Atlético Madrid and the Cameroon international has hit the ground running at her new club.
She scored the winner in a 1-0 win over Roma, clinching the match 85 minutes in. Her goal against Juventus was in vain as Inter still lost 2-1 to their fierce rivals.
Nchout was also instrumental for Cameroon as she scored the winner against the Central African Republic in a 1-0 first leg AWCON qualifying win. The Indomitable Lionesses went on to win the second leg 2-0.
- Barbra Banda, Shanghai Shengli
Banda will almost certainly feature at and near the top of the Women’s Power Rankings in months to come, as she frequently did in the past, now that she’s back in action.
She has only recently returned to club action in the Chinese Women’s Super League with Shanghai Shengli, so there was not much time to compete for top spot with the likes of Uchenna Kanu this month.
However, October saw her quickly open her account for the season. Barbra snatched possession, slipped in behind the defence, and slotted effortlessly into the bottom corner to score Shanghai’s third goal in the 4-0 thrashing of Sichuan.
- Désiré Oparanozie, Dijon
Oparanozie scored twice for Dijon in their 2-1 win over Soyaux on October 2. Then, against Fleury 91 two weeks later, she picked up the assist for Solène Barbance’s goal in a 1-0 win.
Although Dijon’s month ended with a 3-0 defeat to giants Paris Saint-Germain, it was ultimately a successful October for Oparanozie and her team. Dijon currently sit sixth in the French top flight table.
- Thembi Kgatlana, Atlético Madrid
Kgatlana scored her first goal for Atlético Madrid on the final day of the month as Las Rojiblancas swept Villarreal aside 3-0, with the ‘Missile from Mohlakeng’ also picking up an assist.
She has had to endure the frustration of shifting in and out of the starting lineup, as she often has throughout her career, but the Banyana Banyana striker is settling into her role and showing glimpses of her superb international form.
Atlético lie third on the Primera Iberdrola table, seven points behind European champions and runaway leaders Barcelona.
- Refiloe Jane, AC Milan
Jane continues to deliver strong, steady shifts in the middle of the park for Banyana Banyana and AC Milan.
She captained the national team as they secured their place in the second round of AWCON qualifying with a drubbing of Mozambique and remains a central figure for Milan, who currently sit third in Serie A.
Aged 29, Jane will likely be able to continue at the top of her game for many more years if she so wishes, as her leadership role within Banyana Banyana increases while Janine van Wyk’s career winds down.
- Estelle Johnson, Gotham FC
NY/NJ had a steady run of results in October with Johnson playing a central role at the heart of defence.
The Cameroon defender started the 0-0 draw with Washington Spirit, and in wins over Orlando Pride and North Carolina Courage. Gotham also drew 1-1 to Kansas City and then twice to Racing Louisville.
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