Ikorodu Stands Still For World Cup Heroine Oshoala

SHE MADE NIGERIA PROUD – Abike Dabiri-Erewa.IMG_20140505_075806

IN 1973, the people of Ikorodu rolled out a red carpet to celebrate one of their own, Modupe Osikoya, after she emerged the star athlete at the All-Africa Games, which Nigeria hosted for the first time in Lagos.
Several years on, another female star from the area has put the country, and indeed Africa, on the World map and the people have rolled out their drums in celebration.
For every sons and daughters of Ikorodu, the performance by Falconets star, Azeezat Oshoala, at the just concluded FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada is worth celebrating.
Oshoala, who was picked as the Best Player of the tournament and emerged the highest goal scorer with seven goals, was received at Ikorodu Town Hall yesterday by a large crowd of people, who came from far and within to celebrate the player.
The grand reception was organized by a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who described the player as ‘history maker.’
“First of all, the person we are celebrating here today is a woman,” Dabiri-Erewa said. “She made all Nigerian women proud in Canada and we have to celebrate Oshoala and her family. In the history of Ikorodu, no person has taken us to this height in global football. We are very proud of what she did in Canada,” she said.
Turning to the player, Dabiri-Erewa said: “We were robbed at the World Cup because I don’t see anything wrong with the goal we scored against Germany, which could have won the game for Nigeria. By it doesn’t matter. You are a true heroine and all Nigerian women are proud of you. By the Grace of God, you will bring more honours to the people of Ikorodu, Lagos State, the South-West and Nigeria in general.”
Oshoala, who was companied by members of her family to the occasion, told The Guardian that she was so happy to be recognized in such a big way by her immediate community. “I must say a big thank you to my people for this great honour. I never expected it.”
With the Canada 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup over, Oshoala says her next target is to win the fast approaching African Women Championship (AWC) title with the senior national team, Super Falcons, in Namibia.
“I am happy for our collective and personal achievement in Canada, but I am praying and hoping that I will be part of the Super Falcons to the AWC in Namibia next month.”
Two years ago, Oshoala was part of the Falconets team to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, but the country could not much impact. “I worked on every mistake I made in Japan two years ago and I am so happy it paid off in Canada. I listen to people around me and I take to every instruction given by my coach,” she added.
The Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt striker said she made a promise never to fail her family and country in in whatever she do. “I went through some challenges when I was a child and I thank Allah for protecting me. I thank my teammates for helping me fulfill my dreams in Canada because everybody contributed to the success story. Maybe, we were not destined to win the trophy because we put up an impressive display against Germany in the final. It wasn’t our day. Like I said, I will play my part if given the opportunity to play in the AWC in Namibia next month. It is a different ball game playing in the senior team, but I am hopeful we will win the trophy for Nigeria this time,” Oshoala said.
At the occasion yesterday were top government functionaries, school children, market women and young female players from Ikorodu and its environs. Also in attendance was former Super Falcons midfielder, Ajumai Amen and her husband Peter Ottache.
The ex-Super Falcons player, who has been Oshoala’s manager since last year, attributed her success in Canada 2014 FIFA Women’s World Cup to hard work and dedication to duty.
She disclosed that many European clubs have dangled carrots at Oshoala since she returned from Canada, but added that she would not let her join any foreign club until the AWC assignment in Namibia is concluded. “We made that mistake few years ago by allowing Desire Oparanozie to sign for a foreign club soon after a successful outing at the World Cup, but when it was time to play for Nigeria at the AWC, the club refused to release her. We won’t make such mistake in the case of Oshoala. We will settle down and get the best foreign club for her,” Mrs. Ottache added.