After scoring seven goals and winning three player-of-the-match awards with the Falconets at the 2014 Fifa U20 Women's World Cup, talented midfielder Asisat Oshoala has opened up on the secret behind the team's impressive success in Canada.
The Rivers Angels player spoke to us about the impact of coach Peter Dedevbo, her explosive goal scoring stint against the Koreans and her expectations in the final against Germany.
She spoke to Goal's Samuel Ahmadu in a telephone chat from the team's Crowne Plaza camp in Moncton, Canada.
Goal: How do you feel about your four goals and third player-of-the-match award against North Korea?
Asisat Oshoala: I'm happy about the victory. As for the goals, I think it was just a plus for me today. I think in every game the team is doing better, me too. Unlike the first game we played, we were unable to get goals, the second we tried to win and the third. I'm really happy with today's victory. Within me, I never expected it would come out this way - I never expected that I would play this much – I can’t even explain, but sometimes when you put in your best, many things just begin to happen that you can't really explain.
Goal: Did you dream of achieving this much coming to the World Cup in Canada?
Asisat Oshoala: Not really, but sometimes you don't plan for some kind of things to happen and they will just fall in place. I never knew I would be the leading scorer and win player-of-the-match awards. But when you get there the spirit in you tells you, “just keep doing what you know how to do best”. What I really planned to achieve in the competition was to put in my best in every game. And I’m happy the whole world is seeing my best.
Goal: Why did you and your teammates carry coach Peter Dedevbo after the win over North Korea?
Asisat Oshoala: I'm happy for him as the head coach. What really happened, why I carried him was he is the type of person that people think he won't get past the group stage let alone reach the quarter-final, semi-finals and now the final. I think it’s a very big moment for him. I'm not really in him, but I know he is a very happy man. I remember [on Tuesday] when we were in training, we had a lot of issues concerning goal scoring - me and him personally. Today I could see why he was shouting at me in training - do this and don't do that. I carried him because the correction he gave to me and told me what will help my career. I implemented them on the pitch and it gave me four goals just later after 24 hours in training. I will say again, congratulations coach Dedevbo, because getting to the final is not easy. It is over a six-month training session - playing qualifying series for four months - all the preparatory activities were not in vain, not a waste - all his work on the team has seen us far and also shown to the world he is a very good coach.
Goal: What has been the inspiration for the Falconets coming this far despite the challenges?
Asisat Oshoala: Yea, it’s our coach, him again. He used to tell us not to worry about anything happening around us. We are doing it for ourselves. We own the glory, the country also. We are not doing it for anybody. No matter what is happening out there even in the office, we should not allow that affect us, we should get our minds off it. We should stay focused on making the nation proud. Even today, just this morning, we heard the [NFF] office got burnt, yet our coach told us it’s none of our business, we just have to play come out and play our semi-final in great spirits. And it really helped us.
Goal: Who will you be dedicating your four goals and player-of-the-match awards to?
Asisat Oshoala: It's to the God I serve - Allah. I dedicate my seven goals of the tournament and player-of-the-match awards to Allah - he helped me this far at this competition. And the rest goes to my father and mother - Lukman and Abimbola Oshoala because they really tried for me. After the first game I told them I couldn't score, but they told me they will be pray for me and not to worry that the goals will come at the right time. I’m really happy and dedicate it to them.
Goal: What do you make out of Nigeria playing against Germany in the final - a 2010 replay?
Asisat Oshoala: Meeting Germany in the finals will be a return leg game, a revenge mission for Nigeria. We will play at our best again to win this final. We lost the trophy to them in the finals in 2010, which was a painful thing. I know my teammates will not allow a repeat of that again on Sunday. We are going to prepare extra hard and put up another good performance to avenge our defeat in 2010.