Legendary Brazilian left-back, Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior may have inspired millions of young footballers across the globe, but the Real Madrid’s most influential defender has an admirer in Super Falcons star, Glory Ogbonna.
From the moment Glory burst on to the scene, she has been hailed as something special. In 2016, she was called up to the Nigerian squad to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea, her first national team outing, and since then, the Ibom Angels dependable defender has made waves with the Super Falcons.
The 2018 African Women Championship winning defender was part of the squad that lifted the WAFU Women’s Cup title in Abidjan earlier this month.
In a chat with Saturday Sun Sports, Glory said she takes pride in contributing to Nigeria’s qualification for the World Cup in France.
How do you feel about missing the forthcoming World Cup in France?
Despite missing out on the France World Cup, I feel great, and I take pride in the fact that I was among the players who qualified Nigeria for the tournament. There is no way the story of Nigeria’s qualification for the World cup would be complete without my name being mentioned.
I am convinced that more opportunities await me in the national team, so, I am happy and looking forward to cheering the team from home.
How does it feel winning the 2018 AWC and 2019 WAFU Cup trophies?
Both are big milestones in my career. Winning both tournaments means a lot to me. The euphoria of both outings has been a soothing tonic and a mirror of what the future has in stock for me. It also means that I must push harder and continuously raise my game. I played with the best in Nigeria and I cannot trade the experience for anything.
How far do you want to go in football and what are your plans to get there?
Well, I want to go as far as every other great players in the world; to make my family, country and myself happy, and to achieve my dream in the game, which is to be an ambassador of female football worldwide.
Football has changed my life completely. It has given me the opportunity to help my family, meet other people, see other countries and experience other cultures. It is a tool for empowering girls, because it gives you the opportunity to do what you want and learn to respect the differences between people.
Who are your favourite players, both man and woman?
My favourite players are Marcelo of Real Madrid and Nigeria international, Ngozi Ebere. As a young player, I was looking for a reference in the national team and Ngozi Ebere is the one I admire most.
Marcelo is simply one of the world’s greatest left-backs, if not the best.
Which is your most difficult game, both at club and national team levels?
My most difficult game at the national team our first match at the U-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea against Japan which we lost 6-0. It was a nightmare that I don’t like to remember. And at club level, losing two straight FA cup finals to Rivers Angels was such a terrible experience I hate to be reminded about.
Any aspiration to play professional football abroad?
Yes, I have a great feeling that I will be playing abroad very soon. It is something I don’t want to start talking about yet, but, I believe that everything has it’s time and season; so, when the time is right, I will disclose more about it.
Outside football what career appeals to you and why?
Music (gospel), because it gives me joy singing.
Did your parents support your choice of playing football?
They were overwhelmed that I have such talent in football and the boldness to go for it. They have been my backbone with praises to God for always leading my paths, and I have their full support as well.
How do they feel when they watch you play football?
They are always happy and proud. My biggest fan is my father; he takes exceptional pride in watching me play for Nigeria.
How do you motivate yourself anytime you loose a game?
By finding out what I didn’t do right together with my teammates, and then try to work on it for another game. I think most of the time, I inspire myself; I’m self-motivated.
As a defender, what is your greatest fear?
I always fear disappointment, like not given out myself. As a defender, you are the gateman for the goalkeeper, so you must give extra of whatever other players are giving.
I hate the feeling of hopelessness that comes with when an opponent penetrates and scores. I don’t like losing, although football is a game in which you win, lose or draw. Before any game or tournament, what is usually your prayer point?
One of the greatest fear of any footballer is injury. So, before any match I seek the face of God to always have a great game, and I also pray to have an injury-free game.
Which is your dream club, both in Nigeria Women League and abroad?
For me, it would be bigger to play for Manchester United ladies. If you can play for the team every week, and you can be a regular there, that’s just the greatest thing. Because, then, you’re one of the very best – one of the 11 best players in the world.
What is your personal target in life?
There are lots of players who have made that pathway possible in the women’s game, but one is outstanding for me, and that player is Marta of Brazil. “Marta is inspiring to watch. She controls the game and can influence it from anywhere. I want to be a world-class female player just like her.
How many trophies have you won as a footballer?
I have won many, but the two major trophies I’ve won are AWC in Ghana, and then WAFU B tournament in Ivory Coast.
How can women footballers be helped in Nigeria?
There are now opportunities for women to become professional footballers and earn a decent living from the game. So, motivation in every aspect is the key point to help us be the best that we can be.
Cyprus Cup and China-4 Nation tournament experience?
Yes, first, I got an adaptation as well as self belief that I can make my mark in the senior team. It was an amazing experience.
What would you be doing if you were not playing football?
I would have been a gospel musician coupled with business.