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Women's Power Rankings: Goals rain in Spain for Africa's players

Ajara Nchout of Atletico de Madrid celebrates with the Supercopa de Espana Femenina Trophy following her team's victory in the final against Levante. Fermin Rodriguez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Ajara Nchout stole the show in January, winning the Spanish Supercopa with her new club Atlético Madrid, and was the obvious choice to top the African women's power rankings.

South Africa's Thembi Kgatlana and Nigeria star Asisat Oshoala once again join her in the top three as Spanish clubs dominate proceedings.

1. Ajara Nchout, Atlético Madrid

Cameroon's Nchout only arrived from Vålerenga a month ago and made an unforgettable first impression in Madrid. In the 3-0 Supercopa final triumph over Levante, she was involved in all of Atléti's goals, bagging a brace and an assist.

All three of the goals were created on Atlético's right flank, with Nchout squaring for Deyna Castellanos to score the opener in the 18th minute.

In the 22nd minute, Nchout effortlessly swept home Ludmila's cut-back. It only took another 10 minutes before the pair combined again. Ludmila was the provider once more, but this time, Nchout had to wriggle inside and out to fend off Maria Méndez, creating room to score.

Nchout started the subsequent 3-0 league win over Sevilla and came off the bench in a 3-0 defeat to Levante, which saw the losing cup finalists claim revenge.

The month ended with Nchout once again promoted to the starting lineup for a 2-1 win over Eibar, which left Atlético fourth in the Primera Iberdrola.

2. Thembi Kgatlana, Eibar

Kgatlana's form in January for Eibar has been phenomenal, but Nchout edges her out solely because her January involved picking up silverware whereas Kgatlana's did not.

However, Kgatlana has been Africa's most consistent performer in 2021 so far. Her year started with an assist for Kuki in a 2-0 win over Logroño.

The South Africa striker then lasted all of a 1-0 away win over Athletic Bilbao and was back among the goals in a 2-2 draw with Real Sociedad.

Kgatlana ended the month by scoring the opening goal away to Atlético Madrid, but Eibar's more illustrious opponents fought back to seal a 2-1 victory.

3. Asisat Oshoala, Barcelona

Last month's leader, Nigeria striker Oshoala, had another prolific month in January, although it initially did not go according to plan.

Oshoala came off the bench in a 5-0 Primera Iberdrola derby drubbing of Espanyol, as well as a penalty shootout defeat to Atlético Madrid in the Supercopa semi-finals.

Following the surprise loss, Oshoala was promoted to the starting lineup for Barcelona's next league match -- scoring in the 15th and 59th minutes of a 7-0 drubbing of Rayo Vallecano.

The Super Falcons star subsequently made an impact in the grudge match against Real Madrid, scoring in the 37th and 70th minutes en route to a 4-1 rout of Barcelona's great rivals.

With 13 wins from as many matches and a whopping goal difference of 70, Barcelona remain on course to stroll to the league title.

4. Jermaine Seoposenwe, Braga

Seoposenwe's brace led Braga to Portuguese Women's Cup victory as they beat Benfica 3-1 in the final on January 12. As a result, the industrious Banyana Banyana international moves up two places in the rankings this month.

The first of those goals was a superb long-range shot on the turn which soared into the corner of the net, giving Braga a 2-1 lead in the 64th minute.

Then, 13 minutes later, Seoposenwe headed home Myra Delgadillo's cross to seal success for Braga, who were still smarting from a 3-0 defeat to Benfica in the 2019/20 Women's League Cup final six days earlier.

Seoposenwe followed that up with a goal and assist in a 3-1 win over Marítimo to cap off a wonderful month, booking her side's spot in the 2020/21 League Cup semi-finals, where they will face Sporting CP.

5. Rita Chikwelu, Madrid CFF

January was a near-perfect month for Madrid and Rita Chikwelu played a starring role in midfield and defence.

The year began with a disappointing 2-0 derby defeat to Real Madrid, which Chikwelu played the full 90 minutes of, but that was to be the last setback.

Madrid subsequently embarked on a winning run of five matches and counting, beating Santa Teresa 4-0, Logroño 2-0, Real Betis 2-1, Sevilla 1-0 and Rayo Vallecano 2-1.

Chikwelu not only started every match, but also scored the winner against Betis, with Estela Fernández providing the assist for her first goal of the season.

Madrid finished the month fifth in the Primera Iberdrola, hot on the tails of city rivals Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.

6. Refiloe Jane, AC Milan

Jane and AC Milan endured a difficult start to the year with a 2-1 defeat to Fiorentina in the Women's Super Cup. However, they did not allow this setback to compromise their steady league form.

The Banyana Banyana midfielder played the full 90 minutes in back-to-back away victories as Milan edged Hellas Verona 1-0 and Florentia 2-1. Milan rounded the month off with a 1-1 Coppa Italia quarter-final first leg draw with Sassuolo.

Milan sit second in the league, three points behind Juventus with 12 matches played. They will return to Serie A action against San Marino on 7 February.

7. Desire Oparanozie, Dijon

Oparanozie's hamstring injury in November led to a frustrating fight back to full fitness. In a 3-2 Ligue 1 win over Soyaux, the Nigeria international well and truly put that behind her with a superb shift.

After assists for Sh'nia Gordon in the 45th and 68th minutes, she played Lea Khelifi through to score the winner in the 85th.

Dijon sit seventh in the Division 1 Féminine and will host Bordeaux on 6 February.

Oparanozie's standout performance in the victory over Soyaux suggests February could be an exciting month for her, with Dijon also scheduled to play Issy and Montpellier.

8. Christy Ucheibe, Benfica

Ucheibe came off the bench in the 3-0 victory over Braga which saw Benfica seal the 2019/20 Portuguese Women's League Cup title.

The Nigeria starlet was an unused substitute in the subsequent 3-1 defeat to the same opponents in the Women's Cup final, but profited off Vitoria's cross to score the fourth goal in a 7-0 league rout of Torreense.

Ucheibe earned a starting spot for the 2020/21 League Cup semi-final against Famalicão, and although she was unable to find the back of the net despite several chances, she still played a key role in a 3-0 victory.

9. Zenatha Coleman, Sevilla

Resilience in the face of adversity propelled Coleman to the upper echelon of women's football all the way from Keetmanshoop, Namibia.

After a tough start to January, she once again needed to dig deep to regain her scoring touch, but once again, she prevailed.

Sevilla began the month with a 2-0 victory over Real Betis, but they were subsequently held to a 0-0 draw by Rayo Vallecano in a match which saw a frustrated Coleman pick up two yellow cards.

She was thus suspended for the 3-0 defeat to Atlético, although she returned for a 1-0 loss to Madrid.

At home to Santa Teresa, Coleman was demoted to the bench and Sevilla conceded a shock opening goal. However, Inma Gabarro's assist set up Coleman for a late equaliser, rescuing a crucial point and sparing Sevilla's blushes.

10. Rasheedat Ajibade, Atlético Madrid

Like Nchout, Ajibade was involved in a successful January for Atlético Madrid, albeit to a lesser extent.

The Super Falcons international made a brief appearance in a 1-1 draw away to Rayo Vallecano. She was an unused substitute in the penalty shootout triumph over Barcelona in the Supercopa semi-finals.

Ajibade replaced Nchout in the 82nd minute of the 3-0 final victory over Levante in which her Cameroonian counterpart was instrumental. She replaced the same player in the 46th minute as Atléti made light work of Sevilla in a 3-0 league win.

After replacing Turid Knaak in the 54th minute of the Primera Iberdrola match in which Levante got their revenge, Ajibade was a late substitute once more in the 2-1 home win over Eibar, replacing Nchout in the 89th minute.

Having only turned 21 in December, Ajibade has the world at her feet, and having the guidance of an experienced fellow African attacking player in Nchout can only spur her on.