There are numerous female football stars doing good in their respective club sides as well as countries here in Africa. The one that caught my attention is none other than Asisat Oshoala, a 25-year-old and is certainly the best female African footballer today. The talented Nigerian striker has worked in the different continents of the world, after brief stints with English clubs before settling for her present club in Spain.
By dint of “tenacity”, Asisat Oshoala overcame family reluctance in her native country, Nigeria, to become an emblematic figure of women’s football. On and off the field, the FC Barcelona striker never abandons her team nor they, her.
Played against a rival club this Friday in Spain with Atletico in the quarter-finals, the talented footballer has finally returned to playing in the champions league after a brief absence. The good thing about her involvement is that she has set a record as the first female African to score at that level.
It took an unwavering determination and grit from the native of Ikorodu, a poor and overcrowded neighborhood on the outskirts of Lagos, a mega-city of more than 20 million inhabitants, to make football her profession.
Being a Muslim by faith and having devout parents, it was a thug of war for the young Asisat and her parents. But share determination and some obstinate streak, she never wavered from her dream.
“I have to admit that it caused a lot of arguments with my mother, but I continued on my way”, said the talented footballer.
Coming from a family of seven children, raised by business parents and a polygamous father, Asisat overcame obstacles one after the other in a country where female involvement in football is severely frowned upon.
Disciplined and ambitious.
“Superzee”, as her teammates call her, started playing football in secondary school and on the streets of Lagos before joining her first club kicked her first club, FC Rebounder.
According to coach Emmanuel Osahon, “What caught my attention was how very fit and athletic she was, when he spotted her during a tournament in Lagos. He further added, “I’m not surprised that she went this far afterward, because she is very disciplined, focused, and full of ambition.
Her next point of call in Nigeria was the Rivers Angels football club, a prestigious female football club in Nigeria, after which she left the shores of the country for the UK in 2015 and played for the Liverpool and Arsenal respectively.
“I had other proposals, but as I only speak English, I chose this option”, explains the top scorer of the 2014 World Cup under 20, revealing in passing that she had made a test at Paris SG after the competition.
The globetrotter then briefly tried the adventure in China, under the orders of Farid Benstiti in Dalian, before returning to Europe to put down her bags in Barca in early 2019.
Knowing where she came from, Asisat found it imperative to give back to society. It is, for this reason, she founded a personally sponsored foundation with the support and sponsor by Nike to encourage young girls to become empowered in various endeavors not just sports alone in a male-dominated society such as Lagos.
According to her, the foundation concentrates on the girl child alone. She does that by speaking personally to them, playing football with them, boost their self-esteem as well as seek for possible clubs for signing for them. This, according to her is her small contribution to help the girl child in Lagos.
Frequent visits home.
Asisat, who was voted best African player last year for the 4th time, has apparently not forgotten her family. Because she was able to provide a decent place of abode for her aged mother in Ebute-Metta, Lagos State with her fat wages.
Being so close to her family, she makes it her duty to visit home whenever the opportunity presents itself. ” I had rather visit home and enjoy the delicacies cooked by my mother and other relations than to go holidaying in another country in Europe or America.” She further added that coming home and enjoying the company of my people makes it impossible for me to forget where I came from”.
Now that it appears that her bags are fully offloaded at her new home in Barcelona, I can only wish Asisat to win more trophies and glories for whatever length of time she will remain at her present club. I hope that she will not toe the line of some of her contemporaries who found it easy to jettison the country and people who nurtured her to become what she is today.
ALL IMAGES ARE GOOGLE SOURCED.