Reigning African women’s footballer of the year, Asisat Oshoala, has likened herself to football superstars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, while defending her overall poor display for the Super Falcons at the recently concluded Africa Women’s Cup of Nations. Oshoala she failed to score in four of Nigeria’s five matches on the way to winning the AWCON trophy and relinquishing her Tournament honours to South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana who won the Golden Boot with five goals scored and was also named player of the tournament.
While the Super Falcons eventually emerged champions for a record ninth time after prevailing via penalties, the game could have been decided in regulation time when Nigeria was awarded a penalty in the second half after Francisca Ordega was brought down in the box by Banyana Banyana goalkeeper, Kaylin Swart, only for Oshoala to fire the ensuing penalty wide of goal as the final went to extra time.
The penalty miss by Oshoala was the climax of her catalog of misses in the tournament. Though the three-time African footballer of the year scored a hat-trick against Equatorial Guinea during the group stage, her overall showing did not impress her fans and teammates alike. “Concerning my flaws at the tournament, it was not my wish to miss the penalty. She said, adding, “I’m saying this as a professional, this is football for you. It happens in one’s career, I wasn’t fixed and programmed like a machine not to make mistakes, I am human like everyone else. Even top stars like Messi, Ronaldo miss the target sometimes.”
And being unable to inspire the Super Falcons at the 2018 AWCON with her goals, Oshoala, who has been shortlisted alongside three other Super Falcons players for the 2018 African Women’s Footballer of the Year award, channeled her energy towards encouraging her teammates. “All that was needed to be done at that time, was to encourage my team mates to fight to the end, that’s team spirit and bond shared between us. For the 2019 World Cup be rest assured we will give our best as expected of us and make Nigeria.”