Barcelona’s Oshoala Hopeful To Lead Super Falcons To World Cup Glory
Written by Teniola Akerele on July 10, 2023
Sporting a pair of sunglasses, Asisat Oshoala celebrated Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League triumph with her teammates in early June, but Nigeria was already on her mind.
Standing on the balcony of the historic palace in Placa de Sant Jaume in the city’s Gothic neighbourhood before several thousand jubilant fans, Oshoala was handed the microphone.
“Visca Barca and Visca Nigeria,” the 28-year-old forward said, swapping in her homeland for “Catalunya”, as the refrain usually goes.
Ruled out with a hamstring injury, Oshoala could not play any part in Barcelona’s rollercoaster 3-2 win over Wolfsburg that saw them clinch their second Champions League trophy.
However, she will be back to compete later this month at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Nigeria are the only African team to feature in every edition of the tournament since it began in 1991, but the Super Falcons have never made it beyond the quarter-finals.
If that is to change, a lot will depend on five-time African women’s player of the year Oshoala.
“When you have Oshoala, you have a chance against any team,” said Nigeria’s American coach Randy Waldrum, whose side must first negotiate a difficult group featuring Australia, Olympic gold medallists Canada and the Republic of Ireland.
“She puts a lot of pressure on herself because she loves Nigeria and she wants Nigeria to be successful on the world stage.”