Also included were Euro 2021 top scorer Alexandra Popp, along with Arsenal’s Wendie Renard and Beth Mead. However, while some of the familiar names were included, there was one major omission from the list.
Oshoala’s brilliant season
Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala was left out of the list despite his brilliant performances for Barcelona over the course of last season.
The 28-year-old had one of her best seasons and years in 2022 despite her injury woes. Oshoala played a vital role in Barcelona’s league triumph, finishing as the division’s top scorer with 19 goals in 20 games.
The former Liverpool star also showcased his prowess on the continent with four goals in five Champions League games for the Blaugranes.
However, despite putting up these impressive numbers, it wasn’t good enough to earn itself a spot on FIFA’s list, once again reinforcing the point that these individual awards are just popularity contests.
The panel involved in these selections does not watch the games and only chooses these players based on their popularity. While Oshoala probably wouldn’t have won the award, he deserved to at least get a nomination.
Oshoala deserves recognition from FIFA
Looking at the names nominated, the Nigerian international had a better year individually than several of the players nominated.
While this is not to downplay the quality of some players, Oshoala deserved a spot ahead of the likes of Jesse Fleming, Lena Oberdorf, and even Hegerberg.
Although some of the players do not play an attacking role, Oshoala had a better year than some of the nominated attackers.
Hegerberg, for example, scored just ten goals and registered five assists for Lyon last season. Still, she was nominated ahead of Oshoala, who finished as top scorer in the Spanish first division.
While many may use her performances in Europe as argument, Oshoala outperforms her there as well. Indeed, Hegerberg had a Champions League campaign to forget, while Oshoala scored four goals in five Champions League games.
Although the injuries didn’t help Oshoala’s cause, she did enough to be nominated, which is why she was nominated for the Ballon d’Or, though she ultimately finished 16th.
But at least the award organizers recognized his performances, something FIFA did not.
Business has resumed as usual since he returned from his injury. This season he already has five goals and one assist in 12 league games with Barcelona.
This is not the first time that FIFA has omitted Oshoala from its list when she should have been nominated. In 2020, the 28-year-old was also left out after another brilliant individual campaign in the 2019/2020 season.
Considering that these two obvious omissions occurred in the last two years, it’s fair to say that The Best Women’s Player is euro-centric.
Almost everyone on the list plays their soccer in Europe, except for Alex Morgan, who plays for San Diego Wave FC of the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States.
Also, since the Eurocup was played last year, FIFA had more reason to nominate mostly European players, which is not fair.
While international tournament performances should count towards an award, they shouldn’t be the main criteria, especially for a category like Best Female Player.
Otherwise, FIFA says that players who do not play in the Euros and World Cups are not considered for nominations. But since this is not the case, FIFA has once again failed to recognize Oshoala’s excellent performances with a nomination for The Best.
It just shows again that the award is mostly a popularity contest and doesn’t award the best.
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