Inter Milan Women's Tabitha Chawinga
Inter Milan Women’s Tabitha Chawinga scored 23 goals in this season’s Serie A Femminile

Victor Osimhen’s goals with title-winning Napoli caught the attention of football fans around the world, but very little has been heard about Africa’s other golden boot winner in Italy.

While Nigeria forward Osimhen scored 31 goals, Tabitha Chawinga netted 23 times as Inter Milan Women reached this season’s play-offs in Serie A Femminile.

The African double is a first – something that acted as inspiration for the 27-year-old Malawi striker.

“My goal is to achieve for African people,” said Chawinga.

“I need to play for the girls in Africa. They need to see there are women in this world that can play football like men.

“Asisat Oshoala (of Nigeria) in Barcelona is also doing a great job, but there is not a lot of media talking about this.

“I believe in the future people will talk about women’s football in the same way they do for men.”

The Malawi captain, who is on a season-long loan from Chinese club Wuhan Jianghan University, scored 16 times for the Nerazzurri during the regular season.

A third-place league finish earned a spot in the play-offs featuring the top five sides, with Roma eventually securing the title.

Chawinga, who started her European top-flight career in Sweden, scored a further seven goals in those play-offs, including a hat-trick against Fiorentina.

“The dream is to win the golden boot, of course,” she admitted.

“But I focus on how I do on the pitch with my team-mates. The other players are playing well and score goals too.

“I won the golden boot in Sweden and in China, but if I focus on the golden boot it makes me a selfish player.”

Victor Osimhen of Napoli
Victor Osimhen’s goals helped Napoli claim their first Serie A title in 33 years

Putting Africa ‘on the map’

Osimhen’s goals helped Napoli win their first Serie A title in 33 years while he also surpassed 1995 Ballon d’Or winner George Weah of Liberia as the highest all-time African scorer in the league’s history.

Chawinga is unperturbed about the fact that her success has drawn less attention.

“It does not bother me because women’s football is on a journey and it will be a while before it can be talked about on the same level as the men’s game,” she told BBC Sport Africa.

“Victor put Africa on the map, he put Nigeria on the map. He’s an ambassador of Africa like me.

“Everybody is talking about him, everyone is talking about Africa. I am really proud of him. He is a great man, he has done a great job.

“This golden boot is not only for Tabitha, it’s for the whole of Africa. I think for Victor as well it is for Africa.

“I am from Africa, I love Africa, I was born in Africa and grew up there. I’m very proud with what I’m doing here to represent Africa.”

Chawinga hopes Serie A’s new golden couple will inspire more European clubs to search Africa for talent, particularly when it comes to female players.

This, she believes, will continue the development of football on the continent.

Tabitha Chawinga of Inter Milan leaps high to volley the ball
Chawinga (left) made her international debut for Malawi in 2011 and is now captain of the Scorchers

“I am very proud to be providing that proof of what Africa can do,” she continued.

“In the past, Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o did a great job. Many clubs in Europe like looking in Africa for the best players. It means we have good talent but not good sponsors.

“People ask: ‘Malawi, where is that? Are there more players there? In Africa, do you know some other players that are the best?’

“It’s time for people responsible for the administration of football to wake up and do better. Football in Africa may go on to be the best football in the whole world.

“Players from Europe are never thinking about going anywhere and people only go to Europe because here they have everything for football.

“We need that in Africa as soon as possible and everything will be okay. This will be very important.”

Chawinga insists she will work hard whether she returns to Wuhan or moves elsewhere.

“As of now, I’m on loan. I still have a contract with Wuhan,” she said.

“In China they are starting to build, it has a big future. They like to buy players from Europe and Africa.

“It is for myself, my agent and Wuhan to discuss. Inter maybe will buy me, but I respect Wuhan and the rules of Fifa so, as of now, I will go back.”

Just like Osimhen, Chawinga is unlikely to be short of suitors should she decide her future lies among the elite of European football.

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