With the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations done and dusted, Footy-Ghana.com our first of a couple of post-tournament reviews. Our #AWCON2018 desk has settled on a team for the tournament – Best XI, seven substitutes and coach.
Heroines were made likewise villains but our focus is on the standout performers – players like Thembi Kgatlana, Raissa Feudjio and Rachel Kundananji seized the platform to announce themselves whiles old stagers like, Onome Ebi, Janine Van Wyk and Rita Chikwelu showed exactly how good they are.
All 16 games of the tournament have been honored and it was Nigeria, who once again knocked the stuffing out of every nation on their way to a 9th title. The verdicts of all the games were considered and we have now gone through them to see who makes part of our team of the tournament:
Goalkeeper: Tochukwu OLUEHI –
Nigeria had the best defensive record at Ghana 2018, thanks in no small measure to the shot-stopper. It’s a fact that, Oluehi, 31, had a brilliant defensive cover in front of her but occasionally when called to duty, responded aptly. She bravely dived at the feet of opponents, making smart reaction saves and commanding her penalty area really well. She had just a ball to her net, which is a new record in the Women’s Afcon. Her crucial penalty shootout saves in the semifinals and grand finale propelled the Super Falcons to a record ninth title.
Full-backs: Lebohang RAMALEPE and Ngozi EBERE –
It’s no secret that, full-backs are the most difficult players to rate – you can watch for the entire duration and wonder exactly what to rate them on. As hard as it was, we settled on right and left full-backs of South Africa and Nigeria respectively.
Ramalepe, 26, bossed her role regardless of the oppositions she came face to face with. The confidence she exudes on those monstrous runs is all what Coach Desiree Ellis needed. The Ma-Indies FC player scored a thunderbolt against Mali in a 2-0 win in the semifinal to add to her already impressive tournament.
Nigeria’s 27-year-old left back, Ngozi Ebere completes our hard choice for full-backs. The Cypriot-based, Barcelona FA left-back slots in perfectly as a cover for the centre-backs when needed. She prompted incredible goal-scoring attacks at will with some incisive through passes. And mostly found herself covering for the centre-backs.
Centre-Backs: Janine VAN WYK and Onome EBI –
To complete our defense are veterans Janine Van Wyk, 31, and Onome Ebi, 35, of South Africa and Nigeria respectively.
First up, we start with Janine VAN WYK, who saw a 137th appearance for South Africa against Nigeria – a record achievement across both genders. Her magnificent control of the team’s defense was commendable. For over 450 minutes, the Houston Dash defender had to endure a yellow card against Mali, when she had no option than to foul, Bassira Toure who was on her way to goal.
We end with Nigeria’s Onome Ebi. The former FC Minsk defender was very remarkable throughout the tournament, saw all the five games over 500 minutes without seeing a yellow card. She slots in as the easiest picks judging from the fact that she helped Nigeria to four straight games without conceding a goal.
Where to start? Probably with Cameroon’s Raissa Feudjio who stole the headlines on numerous occasions. Perhaps, Cameroon’s Head Coach, Joseph Brian Ndocko had the talented group of midfielders in the tournament. Cameroon’s dangerous attacks were via the promptings of the 23-year-old Merilappi United midfielder. Raissa had a superb tournament and deservedly gets the nod in our team of the tournament.
Pairing with her in midfield is Nigeria’s captain Rita Chikwelu who was irrepressible throughout the tournament. Rita, 30, showed no sign of slowing down and teared apart midfields of Equatorial Guinea and Zambia in Nigeria’s road to a successful title defence. She was quick and first to all half-chanced balls.
Cameroon’s Aboudi Onguene and Nigeria’s Francisca Ordega slot in on the right and left wing to complete the midfield.
Let’s begin with, Aboudi Onguene, there’s no denying the fact that the 29-year-old is one of the best performers to grace the 11th Women’s Afcon. Excellent dribbler. Aboudi had the perfect controls and was always involved when Cameroon surged forward, the team scored 10 in five games, Aboudi had a personal two to boast about.
Francisca Ordega, the Player of Match on the final day. Ordega powered in two goals and had a huge say in the not-bashful Nigerian attack. The confidence in her runs from the flanks is the peak of her attributes. She sliced oppositions to shreds on countless breaks. Ordega slots in at the left flank.
Now to our centre forwards –
Zambia’s Rachel KUNDANANJI surprisingly made the cut and tagged along is the tournament’s best player, Thembi KGATLANA.
With three goals in just three group games played, Kudananji finds herself beating competition from Mali’s Bassira Toure who played two games more, yet scored a goal less. The 18-year-old, Indeni Roses forward, will cherish her maiden appearance to the continent’s showpiece and will be one Coach Bruce Mwape will vest his hopes in the next time out. She completes the musings.
Thembi Kgatlana, 22, top scorer and best player of the tournament. The Houston Dash forward will relish her performance in the tournament for years. It was the most impressive in her three outings at the competition. Kgatlana’s incredible 85th minute strike against Nigeria in the opening Group B game opened the floodgate for her, and she went on to win three Player of the Match awards in all three group games.
Kaylin Swart (South Africa), Manie Christine (Cameroon), Ngo Mbeleck (Cameroon), Bassira Toure (Mali), Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria), Meffoumetou Tcheno (Cameroon), Linda Mothlalo (South Africa)
Though she did not win the ultimate, South Africa trainer Desiree Ellis bossed the tournament, the Footy-Ghana.com panel decided.
#AWCON2018 And here is Footy-Ghana.com's team of the tournament:Best XI: OLUEHI (Nigeria) – RAMALEPE (South Africa), VAN WYK (South Africa), EBI (Nigeria), EBERE (Nigeria) – FEUDJIO (Cameroon), CHIKWELU (Nigeria), ABOUDI ONGUENE (Cameroon), ORDEGA (Nigeria) – KGATLANA (South Africa), KUNDANANJI (Zambia)Subs:Swart (South Africa), Manie (Cameroon), Ngo Mbeleck (Cameroon), Bassira (Mali), Oshoala (Nigeria), Tcheno (Cameroon), Mothlalo (South Africa)
Posted by Footy-Ghana.com on Tuesday, December 4, 2018