Women's Power Rankings: No change at the top as Nigeria's Super Falcons dominate

With several top European leagues wrapped up for the season, the June African Women's Power Rankings may come from different leagues but there is no change at the top of the pile.

Several African players are still starring in the NWSL, while Nigeria's international Summer Series appearances featured some standout performances.

The Super Falcons are the best represented team in the June edition, with the likes of Onome Ebi and Chiamaka Nnadozie unfortunate to miss out. Ahead of next year's Africa Women's Cup of Nations in Morocco looming, the defending champions' strength in depth is likely to serve them well.

1. Asisat Oshoala, Barcelona

Last month, Oshoala topped the list due to winning the UEFA Women's Champions League with Barcelona. This time around, it is her individual form, rather than the achievements of her team, that sets her apart from the rest.

Oshoala scored against Atlético Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Sporting de Huelva for Barcelona, also playing her part for Nigeria in the 3-3 draw with Portugal and the 2-0 defeat to the USA.

Oshoala did not get on the scoresheet in those games, but her link-up play was important and her pressure forced an own goal from Portugal's Diana Gomes.

Her club future has been the subject of speculation, but Oshoala has earned the right to enjoy the off-season after breaking new ground for Africa in 2020/21.

2. Toni Payne, Sevilla

Payne's electric dribbling is becoming increasingly important for club and country alike. Although her Nigeria career only started in February, she looks completely at home in a Super Falcons shirt.

Her playing style has always been easy on the eye, but Payne is becoming more clinical as time passes. Her stunning strike to clinch a 2-1 win over Espanyol was her third goal in just over two months and she set up Rasheedat Ajibade's late equaliser for Nigeria against Portugal.

On 29 June, it was announced that Payne had put pen to paper on a new three-year Sevilla contract. Her progress is likely to continue as she enters her prime years in the Primera Iberdrola.

3. Ifeoma Onumonu, Gotham FC

Onumonu earned her Nigeria debut in the 1-0 Summer Series defeat to Jamaica on 10 June before further appearances against Portugal and the USA.

While she still has to adapt to the Super Falcons setup, she was arguably the standout player at club level in the NWSL this past month.

Onumonu rose up to head home the winner in Gotham's first game of the month, a 1-0 win over OL Reign. Against Orlando Pride, her hold-up play enabled Caprice Dydasco to score an admittedly fortuitous goal from a cross-cum-shot in a 1-1 draw.

In the rematch against Reign, Onumonu was on target once again, rounding goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi to score after an incisive run similar to one which almost saw her claim a second goal in the previous encounter between the sides. On this occasion, Gotham won by a comfortable 3-0 margin.

4. Rita Chikwelu, Madrid CFF

Chikwelu has been a reliable presence in the middle of the park for Madrid and Nigeria. In June, she continued to play a key role for both.

Often, Chikwelu has had to focus on the more thankless aspects of the game in defensive midfield. However, in the clash with Portugal, she picked up a crucial assist for Michelle Alozie.

The tough-tackling Chikwelu enjoyed a successful first full season at Madrid after joining in January 2020, with much of the 2019/20 season already behind the team. Madrid finished seventh in the Primera Iberdrola this term and significantly narrowed the gap to the Spanish women's football elite.

5. Jennifer Cudjoe, Gotham FC

Cudjoe's consistent performances in midfield have continued for Gotham, who picked up two wins over OL Reign in June with a draw against Orlando Pride in between.

The Ghana midfielder played the full 90 minutes of the 1-0 win over Reign on 5 June before featuring for 56 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Orlando Pride just over a fortnight later. On 26 June, Gotham beat Reign 3-0 with Cudjoe featuring for 68 minutes.

Like Chikwelu, Cudjoe is not the sort of player who hogs the spotlight, but her consistent performances have seen her become a regular in our top 10.

6. Uchenna Kanu, Linköping

Kanu continued her fine form for Linköping in the Damallsvenskan, scoring her fifth league goal of the season against KIF Örebro in a 4-1 victory.

She finds herself three goals shy of last season's Damallsvenskan tally. Should she continue to improve year upon year as she is now, she is likely to see more game time for the Super Falcons in years to come.

Her team sits fifth in the Damallsvenskan with 10 games behind them. They will rely on Kanu to help them improve on last season's fourth-place finish.

7. Rasheedat Ajibade, Atlético Madrid

Ajibade's last-gasp equaliser sealed a draw for the Super Falcons against Portugal in the Summer Series. Payne's ball afforded the Atlético starlet the chance to stroke the ball into the corner.

Ajibade is only 21 years old, but is becoming increasingly prolific for club and country. She has to fight against established stars for game time for both, but continues to rise to the challenge and steadily improve.

The striker penned a two-year deal with Atléti which took her to the club early in the January transfer window this year. The 2021/22 season is likely to be a make-or-break campaign for Ajibade as she seeks to prove that her time has come to lead the line on a regular basis.

8. Janine van Wyk, Glasgow City

Van Wyk's impact on Glasgow City during her brief spell at the club was seldom clearer than in the 2-0 win over Rangers which clinched a 14th successive title for the club.

Glasgow City had lost 5-0 to the same opponents in December, but van Wyk's return from injury after a lengthy COVID-19-enforced SWPL stoppage galvanised their defence.

She helped to neutralise the Rangers attack and preserve City's lead after they scored twice in a sensational first half display in the title-clinching match.

Although the Banyana Banyana captain subsequently announced her departure from the club, she left an indelible mark on its culture.

9. Ode Fulutudilu, Glasgow City

Fulutudilu was every bit as crucial to City's title charge as her international teammate, albeit at the other end of the field.

An experienced strikerfor Banyana Banyana, she could always be counted upon to either get on the scoresheet or distract defenders with her astute hold-up play and dangerous runs.

Fulutudilu told ESPN that she hopes to stay at City and play for them in the Champions League. On her day, there is not a centre-back on the continent who can expect an easy ride against the 31-year-old.

10. Michelle Alozie, Houston Dash

Despite her exploits for Yale University, Alozie was a somewhat surprising inclusion in the Super Falcons squad for the Summer Series.

However, she justified her place with a goal against Portugal which changed the complexion of the game. Nigeria were 2-0 down and on the ropes when she volleyed home Rita Chikwelu's cross on the stroke of half-time and set her team on course to salvage a 3-3 draw.

Competition for places in the team is stiff, but Alozie has thrown the cat among the pigeons and is one to watch for African fans with an interest in the NWSL as she fights for a breakthrough at the Dash.