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Asisat Oshoala: A Super Soaring Falcon

Asisat Oshoala / Photo by Chris Hyde via Getty Images

Barcelona Femení icon and five-time African Women’s Player of the Year has the world at her feet… literally. After a stunning display in Nigeria’s 3-2 victory over co-hosts Australia, Asisat Oshoala is ready to re-introduce herself. 

Heading into the tournament, the Nigerian Super Falcons threatened to go on strike for their opener of the FIFA Women’s World Cup against Canada in protest of the dispute with the Nigerian Football Federation over equal pay. Not an uncommon issue that is unfortunately still occurring at the highest level of professional women’s football, another discussion to be furthered. However, the match went ahead as scheduled on July 20 and despite not being on the scoresheet, Oshoala earned her team a well fought point against the Olympic gold-medalist Maple Leafs.

It was Nigeria’s second match of the tournament against the mighty Matildas where they stamped a seal of approval in the history books. Oshoala did not start the game as a precaution taken by coach Randy Waldrum to regulate her injury. Destiny awaited as she was subbed on in the 63rd minute game when the score was tied 1-1. The Super Falcons took the lead quickly and just within 9 minutes of playing time on the pitch, Oshoala scored to make it 1-3 against the Matildas; the match ended 2-3 in a spectacular victory for FIFA #40 ranked Nigeria.

The 72nd minute goal made Oshoala the first African to score in three different editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup (2015, 2019 & 2023). Against all odds, Nigeria sit at the top of Group B, ahead of Canada (ranked #7) & Australia (ranked #10) after 2 matches. Even though Nigeria will not be paid their tournament match bonuses, Oshoala’s passion remains unchanged. “I want to make sure I fight for my teammates, fight for this badge. This is the best county in the world,” the player said post-game.

If Nigeria win/draw they are guaranteed qualification into the round of 16. In case of a loss, the fate of Oshoala’s team will rely on the result of Australia-Canada. Ireland, who are already eliminated from the tournament, are the next obstacle in Nigeria’s road to the knockout stage. Tune in on July 31, 2023 to find out who survives the wide open Group B!