BY BOLAJI OKUNOLA
ARSENAL forward and 2015 African footballer of the year, Asisat Oshoala has said that the Super Falcons protest after their AWCON victory in Cameroon remains her darkest period in football.
Speaking with Saturday Sun- sports in Lagos recently, the AWCON Golden boot winner reflected on the infamous sit-in protest in Abuja over unpaid al- lowances and noted that it was regrettable but they had to do it because of past promises that were not kept.
“We were maltreated. It was a bitter experience. I mean what can one say but to give thanks to God. Nigeria is a country full of underground corruption. I mean how can our football adminis- trators say they don’t believe we will emerge the winner of the AWCON when Nigeria has won it more than any other Af- rica nation. It broke our hearts. Am yet to get over the stress I went through during the pro- test prtiod. And I pray Nigeria football never record such a big shame again. Had it been we didn’t win the Cup; am confi- dent we would have been denied our bonuses and allowances. Given the media coverage of the protest, I receive a peace- ful letter from Arsenal and I felt ashamed of the situation of our football. I still believe some of my colleagues in Arsenal will jokingly laugh at me when I re- turn back but I have no choice than defending my country come rain come shine when such occurs.”
On her growing up, she revealed that she had no other dream than to play football. “My passion for football made me drop out of school. I use to be a tom boy during my child- hood days and everyone around me sees me like a guy. Till date, I still play alongside male foot- ballers in Arsenal and here in Nigeria.”
Speaking on her having to drop out of school, she said she had no regrets because there is still an opportunity to study not- ing that those who venture into school do so because they want to get rich and influential in so- ciety.
“Those that are educated do so because they want to become millionaires. Footballers are also doing same thing. At a point I al- most regretted snubbing school and my parent were not happy with me but I am a girl of my word. I stoke to my dream of playing football. I know what I want and I have a dream of be- coming bigger in life and going back to school is important to me.”
Oshoala maintains that play- ing for Arsenal remains the best decision she has taken thus far. “I love the Gunners. We play the best style of football in the world. I once played for Liver- pool under the influence of Liuz Suarez but I am happy stay- ing with Alex Iwobi at Arsenal now. Iwobi is a great man who never wants me to get hurt by the white guys over there and I respect him for that. Whenever he scores I am always happy be- cause we carry same the status of Nigeria.”
On Arsene Wenger, she ad- mits that the Frenchman is sim- ply wonderful pointing out that he often strolls into the female pitch to say hi to them. “He is a humble man who we all look up to. As a matter of fact, he is a great comedian. I could re- member he once nick named me ‘African Queen’ based on my stamina and ability to hold the ball. He has never forgotten
Nwankwo Kanu whose skills he likens to me. He has been instrumen- tal to my upliftment just as my manager, Pedro Losa has also been.
No doubt, Oshoala holds lots of laurels in her cabinet and she wastes no time in dedi- cating them to the less privilege. “My people need support and I will do everything within my reach to support them. I will also advice other top stars to keep visit- ing the motherless baby homes and organising youth empowerment programmes to help fos- ter unity and develop- ment in the country.”