Asisat Oshoala: Another Award to A Glowing Career

Winning awards have been synonymous with Asisat Oshoala since she dumped education to face a career in football. Earlier this week she added another to her growing list of awards 

Super Falcons striker, Asisat Oshoala has been honoured by the Women’s International Champions Cup for her role in advancing women’s soccer.

Oshoala was named to the third annual WICC Best XI on Monday, with the Barcelona forward joining England national team coach Sarina Wiegman, journalists Jeff Kassouf and Anna Kessel, U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone and Ally Chief Marketing Officer Andrea Brimmer on the award list.

Recognising the contribution of Oshoala and the other awardees, the head of the WICC, Susie Fiore said, “The winners work tirelessly to champion the women’s game, often in spite of great obstacles.

“Without the contributions of the 2022 honorees, the women’s game would not have the explosive growth that we’re seeing today.”

Oshoala is Nigeria’s most decorated female footballer.

She is the first African woman to play in the English league, when she featured for Liverpool and Arsenal, winning the 2015 Women’s FA Cup with the Gunners. A record five-time winner of the African Women’s Footballer of the Year award, Oshoala was the first African to score a goal in a UEFA Women’s Champions League final. Last year, the 28-year-old became the first African woman to win the UEFA Champions League.

Oshoala is also the first African woman to win the Primera División’s Pichichi Trophy.

In August 2022, she became the first African woman nominated to the Ballon d’Or.

Oshoala is a three-time winner of the African Women’s Championship, claiming the titles in 2014, 2016, and 2018 and winning the competition’s golden boot award in two of those editions.

Since abandoning her education in pursuit of a football career, Oshoala has never looked back- it’s been one success story to another. This season her game had be blighted by injury reducing her game time to just 12 starts in 19 appearances. Not deterred, the Super Falcons striker not only helped Barcelona to win the league for the second time in a row but went on to win the Spanish Premiera Iberdrola Golden Boot, making her the first African to achieve the feat.

Oshoala had earlier won the Spanish Premiera Iberdrola golden boot following an impressive goalscoring season with champions Barcelona Femeni to become the first African woman to achieve the feat after scoring 20 goals in just 12 starts of all 19 league appearances.

The 27-year-old, who opened her season account with a brace in a 5-0 win over Real Betis on September 11, grabbed her 20th goal of the season in a 5-1 win against Sevilla on May 5.

The 20th goal of the season saw the Super Falcons star to level with Brazil’s Geyse of Madrid CFF, who failed to go further.

Despite being introduced as a 63rd minute substitute, the Nigerian could not add to her goal tally on final day’s 2-1 win against Atletico Madrid, but she still nicked her long-sought accolade, having played fewer matches (19) than Geyse (27).

The Nigerian captain was the highest goal scorer at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and was named the best player at the tournament. She was also named best player and second top goalscorer with the Super Falcons team who won the 2014 African Women’s Championship.

Indeed, World football governing body, FIFA hailed the Barcelona Femeni striker for winning the Pichichi with the Catalan club despite suffering a two-month injury spell.

“20 goals and a perfect club season.  Asisat Oshoala has always been unstoppable!,” FIFA wrote on their official Women’s World Cup page.

Oshoala has had a superb season, winning the league’s top scorer, and achieving a spotless league record. Speaking on the award, Oshoala said: “It’s obviously been a team effort to get here, and l can only thank my team-mates and everyone at the club for this achievement. “We’ve been working hard all season and cannot stop now.”  Barcelona scored 159 goals in 30 games as they didn’t drop a single point. They conceded just 11 goals to establish their exceptional dominance.

Oshoala, 27, is Africa’s most decorated female footballer and becomes the first woman from the continent to claim Spain’s golden boot.

Oshoala scored 81 goals in 104 appearances for Barca, and has signed a deal to remain with the Spanish giants until the end of the2023-24 campaign.

She joined the Spanish outfit from Chinese champions Dalian Quanjian in January 2019, initially on loan, before agreeing a permanent switch five months later.

The former FC Robo and Rivers Angels star had moved to the Far East in February 2017 from English side Arsenal, with whom she won the Women’s FA Cup at Wembley in 2016.

She finished as the Chinese Women’s Super League top scorer in 2017 with 12 goals to help her club to the title same year.

Oshoala, who began her European career at Liverpool, won her third Women’s Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Falcons in Ghana in 2018, scoring three goals as Nigeria lifted the title for a ninth time. Oshoala won the Confederation of African Football’s Women’s Player of the Year fourth time in 2020- equalling the record set by compatriot Nkwocha.

The maiden BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year winner helped Nigeria reach the last 16 at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France and will be hoping to lead her country to qualification for the 2023 World Cup and a record-extending 10th Nations Cup title in Morocco in July.

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