–Super Falcons star ready for Cameroun challenge
Nigeria midfielder Asisat Oshoala is excited to have played a huge part in Nigeria reaching the final of the TN Mobile 9th African Women Championship in Namibia.
The 20-year old netted a first half brace as the Super Falcons overcame old foes, Banyana Banyana of South Africa 2-1 in their semi-final clash on Wednesday at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, to qualify for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada and set-up a date with Cameroon who beat Cote d’Ivoire by a similar after extra time in Saturday’s grand finale.
Oshoala, who scooped both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada last August, has struggled to replicate her output at the continental, with just a goal to show prior to the semis clash with South Africa.
A familiar face in the starting line-up of Coach Edwin Okon, the River Angels of Port Harcourt player has been frustrated by goalkeepers of opposing teams who have denied her with superb saves just as her anxiety in front of goal has added to her woes.
With the weight of expectations following her exploits in Canada two months ago where she attained global fame, Oshoala insists she is not under form pressure and is enjoying her time at the tournament.
“This is my second appearance at the African Women Championship. I had my first experience two years ago (in Equatorial Guinea) and it really helped my game at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
“I’m not under pressure coming here based on my performance at the U-20 World Cup. I came here to do my stuffs like my coaches tell me on the field – Just do your thing! Don’t panic! Just go there and do what you know best. If you are right, fine and if you don’t get it right, keep trying for another chance!” Oshoala told Cafonline.com.
Heeding to the words of her coaches to continue trying, the midfielder finally got into her element at the last four meeting against South Africa, scoring a brace including a spectacular volley just before half-time for the second goal, and was deservingly decorated ‘TN Mobile Woman of the Match.
“I dedicate the goals to my fans [everyone who is been praying for me] family, well-wishers and my teammates in particular,” she added.
Comparison to Nkwocha
With legend Perpetua Nkwocha at the twilight of her career, Oshoala has been tipped as ‘next best thing’ to have happened to Nigerian women’s football.
The duo has at least something in common with Oshoala, 18-years the junior of Nkwocha citing the latter as her model.
“It’s not an easy thing to be Perpetua [Nkwocha]. She is my role model and I have been working towards it. I try hard each day to get there.”
Oshoala was only six when Nkwocha made her maiden appearance at the AWC in 2000, and relishes the opportunity to play in the same team as her mentor.
“Playing with her has also helped my game to be like her. She [Perpetua] being my role model is a good thing for me and I’m doing good to reach that.”
The midfielder is finally hoping to lay her hands on a major title after leaving Canada with a silver medal following a late winner by Germany in the final, when the Super Falcons squares ‘Les Lionnes’ of Cameroon in the final of the TN Mobile 9th African Women Championship on Saturday at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek.