Asisat Oshoala: How a grandmother’s belief gave birth to an African soccer superstar

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Then the moment of Epiphany when life comes full circle for him.

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She pauses, reflects and takes a deep breath.

“Well… it’s been quite a journey,” she says with a familiar smile.


It’s a smile that affirms his faith and tells you everything you need to know about the power of opportunity.

soul of an african

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Along with knowing how to deliver a punchline, Oshoala does it with honesty, vigor and humility.

“No matter how high you reach in life, you always have to remember where you came from,” she says.

Its past is also a fundamental mechanism in an ever-changing, globalized world. It’s an identity – “the spirit of an African” as she puts it – in which the “old vibe” still rings true.

“We’ve always been people who fight for everything and [are] Ready to sacrifice,” Oshoala continues.

Growing up as a child, gender roles were clearly defined – a girl’s place was at home or in the shop.

She openly talks about living in a Muslim society and polygamous household With seven brothers and six sisters from his father’s two wives.

“It’s unity with my family. We’re not broken […] We are from different mothers but still together […] We see ourselves as that,” she says.

A practicing Muslim, Oshoala views Islam as “a guide through life”.

“If this [playing football] That’s what makes me happy, I don’t think God is against it.”

a grandmother’s trust

Football was a source of escapism, but also a challenge to the establishment of patronage and paternity.

Oshoala remembers hiding and fabricating stories to explain the prolonged absence, although there were consequences for his actions.

“Sometimes I can’t sleep at home” […] Some days my mother didn’t even give me money for food.”

Who believed in the possibility of opportunity in the beautiful game then?

“My grandmother,” replied Oshoala.

When others doubted her abilities and skills for the sport, it was Oshoala’s grandmother who exhorted to “be a good and a good person, to be respectable” with wisdom and calmness. [and] Be disciplined.”

Whenever Oshoala takes the field, those thoughts and beliefs are at the forefront of his mind.

Scoring sensation: Osola won the Golden Boot with seven goals in the 2014 FIFA Women's Under-20 World Cup

In 2014, the dye was cast.

A top scorer and player of the tournament admired FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup A few months later the African Women’s Championship was followed with glory.

A decisive conversation took place with her skeptical parents.

“I made them believe that if young children follow their dreams, something positive will always come out of it. Today, I think they realize it.”

And these days, her parents are believers.

“They’re the ones who call me now […] They know my game before I even tell!” she laughs.

the shining light of africa

Oshoala has never looked back since leaving Nigeria in 2015.

Europe to Liverpool and armory to Asia with Dalian before returning to Europe with FC Barcelona.

“I know I can survive anywhere,” she says with defiance. “For the spirit of acceptance to survive, it has to come from your own hard work and your own sacrifice.”

Those sacrifices have led to success with many teams and garnered individual acclaim both domestically and internationally.

Soccer Royalty: The Nigerian picked her third African Women's Footballer of the Year award at the 2017 CAF Awards with Liverpool and Egypt's Mohamed Salah (R) taking the men's award.
List of Honors a. extends from The record for equalizing four African Women’s Footballer of the Year titles, two more Africa Cup of Nations victories and two FIFA Women’s World Cup appearances.

Those achievements underpin her status as the continent’s most decorated female footballer in history.

“It’s amazing,” Oshoala says, pausing, pausing at the enormity of her accomplishments.

“I never dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player […] And seeing as where I am today, I mean, I’m just really happy for what I’ve done for myself so far.

“The feeling of always wanting more, the feeling of not giving up is something that pushes me a lot.”

line in the sand

Perhaps, however, the two most important events on the pitch for Oshoala have happened in the past two years with the Catalan giant.

In 2019, she became the first African to play and eventually scored in what was to be Losing the Women’s Champions League final to Lyon.

She talks of it being a proud moment, but an equally painful one.

In May, however, redemption came.

History maker: Oshoala celebrates as Barcelona crush Chelsea 4-0 to win Women's Champions League
Entered the history books by becoming the first African of 26 years Win European football’s most prestigious title Like when Barcelona beat Chelsea 4-0.

“When you have a single goal, it’s easier to achieve big things. Those who lost together won together — that’s important,” Oshoala says.

The pace continues at a steady pace and shows little sign of slowing down.

This season, Barcelona is A remarkable seven goals average in a game in the league, with Oshoala bettering one goal in each game – a clear sign of intent as the side prepares to defend their much-anticipated crown.

Can Barcelona now follow in Lyon’s footsteps to become Europe’s new powerhouse?

“Barcelona can just be Barcelona!” Oshoala responded emphatically.

“We have a goal we want to achieve, which we already started last year: we won the triple. It’s unbelievable!”

‘People want something new’

It is this blueprint of betterment, courage and confidence that Oshoala now aspires to pass on to a new generation of girls – one that envisions football and education coexistence.

The vehicle of change is its foundation in Nigeria.

“Sometimes I just sit on the sidelines and just start smiling. I see them happy and I’m happy to see people’s dreams really come to life – they’re looking to the future.

“He is looking at the possibility of becoming a professional football player.

“I’m really jealous […] Because they have everything!”

As she reflects on her career, Oshoala also has a word of warning for the men’s game.

“The next five, 10, 15 years, it’s going to be all about women’s football because the men’s game … it’s like they’ve got everything already.

“Now you can see the fights. They want the Super League, they want this … They’re trying to see what they can bring in right now because they’ve already done everything.

“There’s money, there’s TV right, there’s everything.

“Now whatever you do with the women’s sport, it’s new, it’s new, it’s new. And people want to see something new.”

Is faith real or based on hope?

“Women’s football is going to be big,” Oshola confirmed.

“Of course you’re going to have some men’s players and women’s players on the same level plus minus […] It is very doable. believe me.”

You don’t want to bet against it.


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