«I know I have a responsibility. I am young, I am 25 years old, and I have a lot of football left, but then I will devote all my time to helping girls in Africa. That they do not go through the difficulties that I went through, ”proclaims Asisat Oshoala (Ikorodu, Nigeria, 1994) and, from his cheerful present, reference of the feminine Barcelona, which dominates the League, reviews a path that was full of obstacles. His school, his parents and loneliness, everything went against him and he went ahead with goals, with many goals, like the 14 that now place him as the second top scorer of the competition behind his partner Jenni Hermoso (18). In fact, the most logical thing is that he had not hit a ball in his life.
«In my school [the School of the Air Forces, in Lagos] there was no women's team, so I played with the boys when they left me. They used to put me on defense because they said I didn't know how to score, that I didn't know how to dribble, so at the end of a tournament, I picked up the ball, dribbled three rivals and scored a goal. We won 1-0. I remember that I told them: 'Now you know what I am capable of,' ”says Oshoala, who had to find a women's team in nearby schools and ended up in the St. Jude land field, just under a kilometer.
For a short time, the challenge was to hide his passion from his parents; For a longer time, the challenge was to convince them to let her live it. In a large house thanks to the family business of gold and clothing, Oshoala lived with her mother, her brothers and the wife and children of her father's other wife and was soon designated as the rebel. Moreover, the discussions were soon unleashed.
Life in solitude
«In my country many families do not want girls to play sports, there is still that mentality. Your main task is to get married and have children. My parents didn't want me to play football and most of all they didn't want me to become a professional. When I signed at 18 for Rivers Angels [the best team in Nigeria] I had to move to Port Harcourt [600 kilometers from Lagos] and leave the studies and they were against it. To convince them I needed many hours of conversation, to reach agreements and, above all, to teach them that I was striving to fulfill my dream ”, recalls the battering ram. Then he promised them that if he did not succeed before the age of 20, he would forget the ball and study law. Then he began a life in solitude that continues today in Barcelona.
«I've always ridden it my way and that's how I'm happy. In Barcelona I have adapted very well, both to the city and to the team. At first it cost me more, because I focused on my game, but now I combine better with my teammates. I think that this season we are all playing better football than last season, ”says Oshoala, to whom the 2014 U20 World Cup in Canada changed his life. Although Nigeria lost the final against Germany, she was the top scorer of the tournament, the best player of the tournament and, a few days later, signed a contract with Liverpool that would make her the first African in the Premier. It cost him the adaptation, a few months later he went to Arsenal and later to the Chinese Dalian Quanjian, but in Barcelona he fell on his feet.
In Duggan's post
Just one year ago, in January 2019, the Barca club hired her to cover the bad run of her battering ram then, Toni Duggan, and in the end Oshoala ended up as a starter in her position. This season, already adapted, is launched. Last week, without going any further, he scored four goals in the budding classic, Barcelona's duel against Tacon that will soon be Real Madrid.
«Now my parents are very happy with my performances, they are my biggest fans. Before, my mother didn't like football, I didn't want to know anything, and now she follows all my matches and tells me about them. I am very happy for his change in attitude », concludes the footballer who has turned her bad childhood experience. With the money received from their different clubs, he first bought a new house from his parents in Lagos and then created a Foundation that helps Nigerian girls play football in their schools.
The objective is that they never lack the material, that teams are created, that the general mentality around them changes. And, he says, he is slowly getting it. Last Christmas, Oshoala invited several stars from the national team, such as Kenneth Omeruo and Chidozie Awaziem, from Leganés, or Ramón Azeez, from Granada, to a charity match under the motto Football 4 Girls and it was a success. In the stands stood out the many girls present and in the face of the organizer, the emotion to see them there.
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- Women's Football