In the hype around a big tournament, it’s easy to build a narrative that begins and ends with a team’s biggest star. But the players who make or break a squad are often further down the depth chart. Their success or failure will dictate a team’s tournament. These are The Influencers.
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Desire Oparanozie, Nigeria
Date of birth: 17 December 1993
Place of birth: Owerri, Nigeria
Desire Oparanozie has scored in three Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) finals.
She scored in the semifinals and final in her debut AWCON in 2010 and repeated the feat in the 2014 final en route to finishing topscorer. The most memorable of her goals, though, came in the 2016 final when she struck late to net the winner against hosts Cameroon, silencing the home fans that had filled the 40,000-capacity Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.
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