Banyana dominate power rankings after WAFCON glory

July was an historic month for African women's football as South Africa became only the third country to win the Women's Africa Cup of Nations [WAFCON].

The African Women's Power Rankings this month have been heavily influenced by performances throughout the tournament, though league form ahead of the tournament was also taken into account.

Banyan are naturally the most prominent side this month, but there are representatives in from Morocco, Zambia and Nigeria too. Asisat Oshoala and Barbra Banda don't feature this month as they did not play at WAFCON.

1. Refiloe Jane, free agent

Though she was not officially declared Player of the Tournament, Jane was the standout player in a Banyana Banyana team that never looked like losing a game from their first -- a 2-1 win over 2018 champions Nigeria -- to their last, a triumph over Morocco by the same scoreline.

It was recently announced that the midfield maestro would not be staying with AC Milan for the season ahead, and after the way she played in Morocco, she will almost certainly have plenty of suitors.

Jane was the on-field captain for Banyana, with veteran squad skipper Janine van Wyk designated a bit-part role. Nevertheless, both played instrumental roles in South Africa becoming the new African football powerhouse.

2. Ghizlane Chebbak, ASFAR

Morocco forward Chebbak was the driving force behind her team's run to the final and was named as CAF's Player of the Tournament.

She has quickly turned into one of Africa's finest home-based footballers, having shone for ASFAR in the inaugural CAF Women's Champions League [CAFWCL], which saw them finish third.

She was the tournament's joint-top goalscorer with strikes against Burkina Faso, Uganda and Senegal.

3. Jermaine Seoposenwe, Braga

Seoposenwe was at the heart of just about everything that Banyana created on attack. She scored crucial goals against Nigeria and Tunisia, but just as vital was her creative influence and her penchant for rattling defences.

The 28-year-old has been influential at Braga, but perhaps not in the spotlight as often as some of her international colleagues.

The WAFCON gave her a glorious opportunity to remind Africa of her silky skills and the forward delivered at every turn, helping in no small measure to fill the void left by Thembi Kgatlana's injury early in the tournament.

4. Grace Chanda, BIIK Kazygurt

Zambia found themselves in an unenviable predicament with several key players out for the tournament, most notably Barbra Banda, who refused to undergo hormone suppression treatment to comply with CAF's regulations.

Under these circumstances, Chanda stepped up and inspired the Copper Queens en route to the semi-finals, where they lost to South Africa in a game riddle by some questionable refereeing decisions.

Chanda scored twice in the 4-1 win over Togo and was superb throughout the course of the tournament as Zambia wrapped up third place.

5. Thembi Kgatlana, Racing Louisville

Kgatlana picked up an injury in South Africa's final Group C game, a 1-0 win over Botswana, so she missed out on the opportunity to truly hit her peak during the tournament.

Nevertheless, she makes our top 10 because she was influential, even if not quite her brilliant best, and because she headed into the tournament off the back of a strong run of form.

The Missile from Mohlakeng scored for Banyana in their 3-1 win over Burundi, but this was ironically her worst game of the tournament and that of her team too. Des Ellis' charges were wasteful in front of goal and Kgatlana was partially culpable.

However, while there were signs that she has yet to fully find her best form in front of goal, Kgatlana's movement was breathtaking and defences struggled to contain her, as they did in Spain throughout her stint at Eibar and towards the end of her time at Atlético Madrid.

Indications are that Racing Louisville are well-primed to get the best version of Kgatlana after what was, overall, a difficult 2021/22 season.

6. Rosella Ayane, Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham's Ayane was expected to be the star player for hosts Morocco and occasionally lived up to that tag, though one could argue that she blew hot and cold.

Nevertheless, the 26-year-old former England youth forward is recognised not only for her contributions at the tournament, but also her impact on Morocco over the course of just over a year since she began playing for them.

Ayane scored for the Atlas Lionesses in their 3-1 win over Uganda in the group stage and then again in the final against South Africa, though the latter strike proved to be nothing more than consolation in a 2-1 defeat.

7. Bambanani Mbane, Mamelodi Sundowns

Mbane was a rock at the back for Mamelodi Sundowns in their 2021 CAFWCL triumph and was tremendous once again for Banyana, with the impact of their solid backline at the WAFCON difficult to overstate.

Not only was Mbane almost impenetrable, but she also worked her magic on the ball, with her passes helping South Africa to turn defence into attack in the blink of an eye on several occasions.

The 32-year-old from Sterkspruit has previously played in Belarus for Dinamo Minsk and it will be interesting to see whether or not she attracts attention from overseas again.

8. Andile Dlamini, Mamelodi Sundowns

The standard of goalkeeping at the tournament was high overall, but many goalkeepers tended to pull off blinding saves only to commit blunders within 90 minutes.

For this reason, Dlamini deserves credit for her consistency and concentration even while Banyana were dominating games at the other end.

Aged 29 and playing in a position where the best tend to have long lifespans, Dlamini is now an African champion at club and international level, like Mbane, and has the world at her feet (or in her gloves).

9. Hildah Magaia, Sejong Sportstoto

Magaia was the star for Banyana in their final triumph as she scored both of their goals in the 2-1 win over Morocco.

She finished as the tournament's joint top scorer, having also found the net in the 2-1 group stage win against Nigeria. That game set the course for Banyana as they went on to dominate the tournament and Magaia, who plies her trade in South Korea, later put the cherry on top of a cake which she played a major role in baking.

10. Rasheedat Ajibade, Atlético Madrid

Ajibade was one of the standout performers throughout the tournament despite Nigeria's struggles on and off the pitch.

The Super Falcons staged a sit-in protest ahead of their semi-final against Morocco, demanding payment of allowances and bonuses by the Nigeria Football Federation [NFF].

Overall, it was a disastrous campaign for Nigeria by their lofty standards, but standout performances came from Osinachi Ohale at one end and Ajibade at the other.

The Atlético Madrid star scored against Banyana Banyana and Burundi in the group stages before adding the winner against Cameroon in the quarter-finals.