Cameroon forward Ajara Nchout says being shortlisted for Fifa’s 2019 Puskas Award is the highlight of her career so far.
The 26-year-old is the lone African on the shortlist for the goal of the year, which is decided for by a public vote and was won by Liverpool and Egypt striker Mo Salah in 2018.
Nchout is on the list thanks to her late solo winner against New Zealand at this year’s World Cup in France.
“It’s perhaps the best thing that has happened to me and I feel very happy,” Ajara told BBC Sport.
“This is something very exceptional for me – this means the world to me.
“I never thought the goal could have such an effect. Whenever I step on the pitch, I play for team and all I want is to get a win.
“To me it was about fighting for a win for my country and I knew I had to get a goal somehow.
“This is a message to all the young girls in Cameroon, Africa and around the world. They have to work hard, never give up and believe in themselves.
“I am the proof that hard work, patience and passion always pays off”
Ajara faces some tough opposition as the likes of Sweden’s LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Barcelona’s Argentina striker Lionel Messi are also on the shortlist.
Ajara’s two strikes against New Zealand sealed a win for Cameroon, helping the Indomitable Lionesses into the last 16 where they were eventually beaten by England.