Nigeria striker Francisca Ordega admits she did not see her shortlist for the Africa Women Player of the Year 2018 award coming.
Ordega, Asisat Oshoala and South Africa striker Thembi Kgatlana made the top three and the Washington Spirit star is hoping to be crowned at Caf's awards in Dakar on January 8.
Ordega scored three goals and was named in the United States' NWSL Team of the Month for April before she netted twice and won two woman-of-the-match awards as the Super Falcons retained the African crown in Ghana.
"I am delighted and feel happy to make the top three for the (Africa Women Player of the Year) award," Ordega told Goal.
"I honestly didn't see that coming since I was on the reserve and could not make the tournament's best XI. I was even shocked to make the earlier 11-player shortlist for the award.
“Though lot of people keep telling me that I could be in the final three, I refused to believe. I felt I ought to have been on the first XI of the competition to have a chance for the final three.
“It was only when I started receiving calls that I made it, which I still couldn't believe until I had to go check for myself and found out it was true. I'm still surprised as this means a lot to me because when one grows as a player, It is expected that one improves too with age.
“After my league season in the U.S., I felt I needed to keep training well, push myself and bring my experience of playing in America for four years to bear in order to help my country qualify for this year's Women's World Cup in France. Glad it turned out well."
On her chances of pipping Oshoala and Kgatlana to the coveted prize, the 25-year-old believes that it will be too close to call, but she is definitely not ruling out herself.
"We [I, Oshoala and Kgatlana] are all winners, good and talented players. Whosoever wins, deserve to win. That is life. It is a very tight competition and we have our differences," she continued.
"Oshoala won two trophies [Chinese Women Super League and Super Cup] with her club [Dalian Quanjian], even though she didn't do that much at the African Women Cup of Nations, but she won the trophy with me.
"The South African girl [Kagtlana] won the most valuable player of the Awcon tournament and also the top scorer, while I [Ordega] had a not-too-season with my club, but scored three goals.
"At the Awcon, I did well in terms of performance, but I didn't score much goals. I am not expecting to win it but if it eventually comes to me, that will be great. But whoever wins, it's her luck and I will celebrate with her," she concluded.