Genoveva Anonman is fast making a name for herself. As playmaker for Equatorial Guinea, she was a lynchpin up front for Marcello Frigerio's team throughout the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011™ in Germany. She is also feared by defences throughout Germany's Frauen Bundesliga, to the delight of her new club Turbine Potsdam.
The Equatorial Guineans created a good impression at their first ever FIFA Women's World Cup this year, thanks in no small part to Anonman. The 22-year-old and her team-mates may have lost all three of their Group D matches but they certainly won over a good number of fans, Anonman in particular. She is a fiercely committed striker and a perfect example of how women's football is gaining in popularity even in the smallest countries in Africa, this despite its relative novelty.
"We have a league with six teams, but there's not a lot of quality," Anonman said of her homeland in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com. "Women's football is more widely accepted now though, particularly after our national team took part in the 2011 World Cup in Germany. The new generation that's coming through is certainly more accepted, and we're having an easier time of it than players did ten years ago for example.
"People were really proud that our team took part in the World Cup," she continued. "It improved the acceptability of women's football in Equatorial Guinea. The development of women's football in Africa is better than it was a few years ago, as more girls and women are now taking up the sport. The fact that some Africans are now playing professionally abroad is further testimony to the development of women's football across our continent."
After discovering her love of the beautiful game at the tender age of five, Anonman surely never dreamed she would one day make history by scoring Equatorial Guinea's first ever goal at a FIFA Women's World Cup, as she did in the 21st minute of their group match against Australia.
The new generation that's coming through is certainly more accepted, and we're having an easier time of it than players did ten years ago for example.
"Scoring that goal was a really emotional experience for me," recalled Anonman, who notched a second goal late on in that 3-2 defeat by the Matildas. "What a moment! It was the first goal that our country had ever scored at a World Cup, so it was really special. My aim was to be a hero for people in my home country, just like Zinedine Zidane and Birgit Prinz are heroes."
Despite Equatorial Guinea's failure to survive the first round in Germany, the positive aspects certainly outweighed the negatives, as Anonman explained: "All of our players gained a lot of experience at the World Cup and it's something that we will remember for the rest of our lives. The whole World Cup was quite simply an incredible experience."
Anonman may well have inherited her talent from her father, who was a footballer himself and often took his daughter along to training sessions. "Football is a very special part of my life, so I always want to give my best," she told FIFA.com.
Giving her best opened up the doors to the Bundesliga. She was part of the Equatorial Guinea team which became African champions back in 2008, and FF USV Jena signed her up the following year. She repaid them by scoring no fewer than 37 goals in 50 matches, catching the eye of plenty of other teams in the process. This season saw her move to reigning Bundesliga champions Turbine Potsdam, and the 22-year-old's hunger for goals shows no sign of abating. She has 11 to her name already, comfortably establishing her as the league's top scorer and an integral part of Die Turbinen's great start to the season.
"The German Bundesliga is the best league in the world as far as I'm concerned," said Anonman, whose Potsdam team are eyeing silverware on three fronts this term (Bundesliga, German Cup and UEFA Champions League). "There are so many good players and great teams, like Potsdam, Duisburg and Frankfurt. Winning matches certainly isn't easy, but that's the way it should be – it helps you develop as a player."
Looking to the future, Anonman will be hoping to give a good account of herself at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 in Canada. "I'm obviously hoping that we qualify for the next edition," she said. "We had such a great time here in Germany, and a World Cup really is something special." With Anonman leading the line, the future certainlay looks bright for Equatorial Guinea.