Asisat Oshoala was, five years ago, universally tipped as the next big superstar in women’s football. The forward was fresh from electrifying at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, leaving with the adidas Golden Ball and adidas Golden Boot.
While Nigeria played some of the most entertaining football at the last FIFA Women’s World Cup, they were unable to make it out of a tough group that included eventual champions USA, Australia and Sweden.
Four years on, older and wiser, Asisat Oshoala is now what she was expected to become back then: a genuine star of the global game. She has claimed three African Women’s Footballer of the Year prizes and just agreed a new deal with Spanish giants Barcelona, for whom she scored in the recent UEFA Women’s Champions League final.
With status, however, comes pressure, and Oshoala enters France 2019, which will begin her against Norway on Saturday, carrying the hopes of a football-impassioned nation on her shoulders. That may weigh on some players, but not the Nigeria No8.
“For me, I am never under pressure because I love what I do,” Oshoala told FIFA.com.
“I love my job. I see it like I’m going to have fun on the pitch.
“A lot of people are expecting much from me, but for me it’s just a day-to-day thing. Go out there and play football, help the team, help my team-mates, get some goals if possible.”