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Football

Asisat Oshoala upbeat on Olympics, Legacy and Dream

FIFA

A modern-day women’s football icon, Asisat Oshoala has starred for club and country on some of the game’s greatest stages. The Nigerian striker has lit up FIFA Women’s World Cup™ matches, UEFA Champions League finals, and helped fire her teams to multiple trophy successes.

Her electrifying skills have yet to be showcased at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament – but that’s all set to change at Paris 2024. Nigeria have qualified for the competition for the first time since 2008, and Oshoala is primed to spearhead the Super Falcons’ charge in France.

“This will be a special event,” she told FIFA. “I’ve never been to the Olympics before, but I’ve heard a lot about it. I’m looking forward to it so much – if I make the team!”

Nigeria have been handed one of the toughest draws imaginable at Paris 2024. They will take on Brazil, Japan and Spain in Group C and – on paper at least – appear to face an uphill battle to reach the knockout phase. All of Nigeria’s opponents are in the top ten of the FIFA Rankings with the African side currently placed 36th.

“At the World Cup last year, people said the same thing,” said Oshoala. “They said we were in the Group of Death [with Australia, Canada and the Republic of Ireland] and could not qualify. But we did. I have a lot of confidence in this team. We have many young players and we can make things difficult for our opponents. We don’t just think about getting out of the group, I think we can actually walk away with a medal.”

This has already been a hugely significant year in Oshoala’s glittering career, with the attacker having transferred from Barcelona to Bay FC, a newly formed NWSL side based in San Jose.

The 29-year-old admitted it was a “tough decision” to leave Barça – where she won 14 trophies and was part of arguably the finest club team on the planet – but “followed her heart” to embark on her Stateside adventure.

“I was very comfortable at Barcelona, but I wanted to experience being at the start of something new,” said Oshoala, who scored 117 goals in 162 appearances for the Spanish club. “As soon as I heard about the project at Bay FC, I was very excited. I love what I do, and I make decisions based on what makes me happy. It’s been pretty amazing here so far.”

Oshoala’s adjustment to life in San Jose, she revealed, has been aided by the city’s “good people and good food”.

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