The prize of African Footballer of the Year in 2018, Wasisat Oshoala, this week told a room full of cheering African leaders that “success has a story and I’m a part of it.” Oshoala, Nigeria’s captain and leading striker, took home the award for the seventh time, ahead of runner-up Ashim Mounir of Senegal, for her performances for club side Barcelona in the Spanish La Liga and for her country of origin. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria to parents who emigrated to England when she was a child. Her father, when he returned to Nigeria, was able to build up his family’s finances, sending money for her schooling. “He worked hard so we could go to school and one day we would go to Europe,” she says. But the money was insufficient, and when her family couldn’t send money back for her education, her father decided to work more hours to earn enough for her to study abroad. When she graduated, she worked for a couple of years before deciding she needed to go to play soccer in Europe. She went to England in 2015, where she spent three years for Arsenal, before spending last season at Barcelona. Her story has made her a global celebrity and she has a global platform for her messages on female empowerment: She regularly speaks at female empowerment conferences in order to provide female fans with a powerful role model. “When I went to England, my husband thought I’d be sent back and he’d come and watch me play in Europe,” she says. “He was right.”
Now she is working with the DfID (British government development assistance agency) in Nigeria, to help girls like her. She hopes to one day, in this new campaign, help encourage young girls in Nigeria to aspire to playing soccer.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
Watch top Nigerian athletes compete in Rugby World Cup
Former soccer player Grace Ekweme, abducted from Nigeria, warns women are failing in Africa