Then the moment of Epiphany when life comes full circle for him.
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
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.
“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.
In 2014, the dye was cast.
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.
“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.
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.
She talks of it being a proud moment, but an equally painful one.
In May, however, redemption came.
“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.
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.
“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.
Credit : www.cnn.com