Has Asisat Oshoala surpassed Perpetua Nkwocha as Super Falcons and Africa's greatest women's player ever?

When the ex- Sunnanå SK forward won the last of her four African Women's player of the year awards in 2011, not many believed the feat could be matched, but 11 years later, the story is different.

Asisat Oshoala (Twitter/Super Eagles)

The Super Falcons are the greatest women's football team in Africa, and it is only normal for them to have produced so many great players.

Mercy Akide, Cynthia Uwak, Florence Omagbemi and Precious Dede are some of the big names to come out of Nigeria and Africa.

However, while these names are great players in their own right, none matches up to Perpetua Nkwocha.

Although the likes of Akide and Omagbemi made the game popular in the country, Nkwocha took it to another level with her performances and achievements.

The 46-year-old represented Nigeria at eight CAF Africa Women's Cup of Nations (AWCON), winning a record six times and finishing as the top scorer on three occasions.

On one of those occasions (2004), she scored nine goals, including four against Cameroon – a record that still stands today.

Nkwocha also represented Nigeria at four FIFA Women's World Cup and three Olympic Football events, while she also won for CAF Women's Player of the Year awards, which was a record at that time.

By the time Nkwocha retired from football in 2015, she had cemented her status as the greatest African women's player of all time, and it was unfathomable to think her achievements would be matched or surpassed soon.

However, seven years after her retirement, another Nigerian by the name of Oshoala has matched, if not surpassed, Nwkwocha's achievements.

Oshoala's journey to surpassing her fellow countrywoman started a year before she retired. The 27-year-old's breakout campaign came at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, where she finished as the tournament's top scorer with seven goals.

After the competition, it was clear that Oshoala would be a threat to Nkwocha's title. Her profile continued to rise that same year as she finished as Super Falcons' second top scorer at the 2014 AWCON, which Nigeria won.

It is important to note that both Oshoala and Nkwocha were in the squad that won the competition in 2014, which made it seem like a passing of the baton.

Both players also represented Nigeria at the 2015 Women's World Cup, but Oshoala outshined her older rival, who retired after the competition.

Although Nigeria failed to qualify for the knockout stages, Oshoala was one of the team's scorers in the 3-3 draw against Sweden, which was the only game they picked up a point.

Following Nkwocha's retirement, the spotlight was now on Oshoala, and it is something she has taken in her stride.

She has added two more continental titles to the one she won in 2014 while also playing at another World Cup.

However, Oshoala's biggest individual achievement is winning four CAF Women's player of the year awards - the same number Nkwocha won before retiring.

It is a remarkable achievement for the 25-year-old, considering the short time it took her to match her countrywoman's record.

And with Oshoala just 27, she is on course to break the tie this year. But it is not just the CAF awards that put Oshoala ahead of her older rival.

For all her greatness at the international level, Nkwocha did not have a great club career. The ex-Super Falcons star played for just Sunnanå SK outside of Nigeria, scoring just 65 goals for the club.

In contrast, Oshoala has had a stellar club career since leaving the shores of the country in 2015. The 27-year-old has played for some of Europe's top clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal, while she also had a successful stint in China.

Oshoala currently plays for Barcelona Femeni, who are the best club in the world right now. She won the treble with the club last campaign, and she is the club's current top scorer this season with 23 goals in 25 games.

Although it could be argued that Nkwocha played at a time when women's football was still growing, as many of these top European clubs did not have a women's team, it still does not take away what Oshoala has achieved in a short period.

And also, considering their achievements and the fact that Oshoala still has many more years left, it is hard to deny that the Barcelona star has already cemented her status as the greatest women's player to come out of Africa.

Nkwocha will always be known as the player that changed the level of women's football in Africa, but Oshoala will be remembered as the player that took the game to an unprecedented height.

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