Missing Tokyo Olympics Hurts –Oshoala


Super Falcons captain and Barcelona Femeni striker Asisat Oshoala, helped the Spanish giants win the treble last season. The African Women’s Footballer of The Year talks about winning the treble last season, missing the ongoing Tokyo Olympics and more, in this interview with JOHNNY EDWARD

You won the UEFA Women’s Champions league in your second season at Barcelona Femeni in June.   How did this make you feel as the first Nigerian to achieve this feat?

I feel great because I lost the same final two years ago to Olympique Lyon 4-1. So, when we had the opportunity to redeem that loss, we took it. Reaching the final this year and winning the UEFA Women’s Champions league was awesome in the manner in which we won it. We told ourselves it couldn’t get worse than we had experienced in the past. The team knew what it felt like losing, so the self-motivation was to get a different feeling of lifting the European title. So, we went all out and we got the trophy. It was a wonderful feeling I must admit.

The way Barcelona Femeni outclassed Chelsea Ladies in the final was unimaginable: four goals in the opening 30 minutes. What was the secret?

When you score early in a game it gives you confidence. But don’t get me wrong, Chelsea ladies are also a good team. We were not lucky to have won 4-0 because we worked hard to achieve that remarkable feat last season. They (Chelsea Ladies) also worked hard but I believe that the best team won the final game.

You helped Barcelona win back-to-back Spanish league titles and the treble, as well as scoring 15 goals. Would you say this has been your best season in Europe?

I can only thank God who has made everything possible through sheer hard work, by playing alongside this incredibly talented group that creates a lovely family atmosphere. It’s a great feeling and I can’t really put my emotions into words because it has been a tough journey to get here. Of course, it is the best since I moved to Europe in terms of winning titles and all.

You featured for the Super Falcons at the Summer Series in the US last month. What’s your take on the influx of new players in the team and coach Randy Waldrum?

There are lots of young players in the team at the moment and all of a sudden I feel older in the team at 26. To be honest, the coach Randy Waldrum has been amazing with the team. He is still trying to put the team together because we have a whole lot of new faces, so it will take a bit of time to strike that perfect understanding on the pitch. And that’s why the training camp in Austria will help the team bond better and play well too. It’s good we have new talents in the team that are not only from the Nigerian Women’s Football League but also from outside the shores of the country. There are lots of talents born overseas and are willing to play for the Falcons because they can see the potential in the team and I think it is a good thing. The coach is doing very well by scouting for more players to bolster the team and I believe right now the Falcons have a good foundation. We have a depth and options in different positions as well, which is really good for the team.

At age 26 you are already seen as the greatest women’s footballer in Nigeria and Africa. Do you share the same thoughts?

I started getting some awards quite early in my career and I’m really grateful. But I worked hard to get to this level. I am just 26 and I feel like I’m still very young to achieve a lot more. I don’t feel the pressure of having a conversation of who is the best or greatest player of all time in Africa or in Nigeria. All my senior colleagues are my idols. I looked up to them while growing up, so there’s no way I’m going to compare myself with them.

The Olympics is underway in Tokyo after it was delayed due to COVID-19 outbreak last year. How does it feel missing out on the Games?

I feel odd looking back at how we lost the qualifiers against Ivory Coast on aggregate. Missing out for a third straight time really hurts, but that is football. There is a whole lot of feeling that comes with it. I believe I will get another chance to realise my Olympic dreams. I’m still very young and I believe we will qualify for the next edition. The Olympics is the only tournament I have not featured in and it will be a huge one for me to also be an Olympian.

The Falcons have been drawn to face Ghana in the first round of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. How are you looking forward to that game and what are our chances?

The game against Ghana will be tough. They are a big side in African football and one of the best, if you ask me. But there won’t be problems playing them. We will focus more on our team and prepare
well for the tie. The camp in Austria will also help our preparations.
I think its good we are getting ready for the game and we hope to qualify.

What do you make of the NWFL now, compared to when you featured in the league years back?

I think the difference is the media work, though the standard and quality has improved as well. I am going to give it to them because when I was playing we did not really have the media support, but now so many people know about the NWFL.  The NWFL chairperson Aisha Falode is really doing a great job right now concerning the women’s league.

Your former team, Rivers Angels have been drawn alongside Hasaacas Ladies FC of Ghana and AS Police de Niamey from Niger in Group B of the 2021 CAF Women’s Champions League zonal qualifiers. What are their chances?

They are going to win for sure. Rivers Angels are the best team in Nigeria and will show their class in the qualifiers. I like to respect my opponents but they (Rivers Angels) have a great team, great squad and good management I believe they will qualify for the tournament proper.

You have played in England, China and now in Spain. Which of these leagues would you say is the toughest?

I think it is the Spanish league. It gets tougher by the day. You have new teams and more players coming into the league.


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