From Right: Nkeiru Okoro, Executive Director (Operations), Dr. Stella Okoli, Group Managing Director of Emzor Pharmaceuticals; Asisat Oshoala,Nigerian Female Football International and Muyiwa Kayode, CEO of USP Brand Management at presentation of Oshoala as Emzor Ambassador recently in Lagos.
•As Cameroon 2016 Women’s Nations Cup Begins
Two years ago, Super Falcons striker, Asisat Lamina Oshoala set a record, which no other African female player had achieved in history of women football in the continent.
Apart from her emergence as the Most Valuable Player at Namibia 2014 African Women’s Championship (AWC), where she equally won the Silver Boot award for scoring four goals, Oshoala was named as the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year, beating star players including Spain’s Veronica Boquete, German Nadine Kessler, Scot Kim Little and Brazilian Marta to the honour. The Confederation of African Football (CAF), later crowned her effort with the African Women Player of the Year award.
Since then, Oshoala has moved from one glorious moment to another, attracting endorsement from many corporate organisations and individuals.
One of such honours was a recent endorsement deal Oshoala with signed with Nigeria’s foremost indigenous pharmaceutical company, Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, which named the footballer as Brand Ambassador.
At that ceremony in Lagos, Emzor said that Oshoala, who currently plays for one of the biggest clubs in world football ‘The Arsenal Ladies,’ is a brand synonymous with dogged determination and loyalty with a sense of discipline that is unrivalled, as she has never been reported to be involved in any scandal whatsoever throughout her short but very illustrious career.
Emzor is one of the sponsors of the national football teams including Super Eagles and Super Falcons, and Emzor Paracetamol has been the Official Paracetamol of the national teams for almost three years.
Since her endorsement as Emzor Brand Ambassador, the former FC Robo starlet and Rivers Angels forward has not had the opportunity of showing her appreciation to the company, especially on the field of play.
That opportunity has come for Oshoala, as the 10th African Women’s Nations Cup competition kicks off today in Cameroon.
The Super Falcons, led by former team captain, Coach Florence Omagbemi, have settled down in Buea, and Oshoala is expected to lead the attack against Mali tomorrow, when Nigeria begins defence of the AWNC title in their Group B opener at the Stade Municipal de Limbe.
Before the team’s departure for Douala, Cameroon on Wednesday, Oshoala made a promise never to let Nigerians down in the competition, though she said that Falcons’ successful defense of the AWCON trophy would supersede any personal accolades that could possibly come her way.
Apart from Mali, the seven –time African champions, Falcons will face their West African rival, Black Queens of Ghana, and the ladies from Kenya in the group phase of the championship, which will run from November 19 to December 3.
“I think we are in a good shape and good spirit as a team prior to the competition. We have one goal, which is definitely to defend the championship. Whatever that comes as individual credit has to come in as a second thing not the primary role for now. It is a competition that comes every two years, so we all know what’s at stake. We have worked hard and have prepared well,” Oshoala said at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, where the team connected a flight to Douala.
Oshoala, who hails from Ikorodu, Lagos State, won FIFA adidas Golden Ball and adidas Golden Boot at the U-20 World Cup in Canada, where she emerged as highest goal scorer with seven goals. Her performances led Nigeria to the final, where they were narrowly beaten by Germany.
Now that all Nigerian male teams (Super Eagles, Flying Eagles and the Golden Eaglets) have crashed out from the qualifiers for 2017 African championship, attention of all football-loving Nigerians is focused on the Super Falcons’ campaign in Cameroon.
Oshoala says the Falcons have what it takes to conquer the continent once again. “As a team, we have just one goal which is to defend the trophy. I believe we are ready for the tournament. There is no small team and there is no big team for now. Any team that can qualify for a big championship like this is a top team. I don’t think is any small team.”
After leading the Falcons to glorious outing at Namibia 2014 Nations Cup, Oshoala took her soccer trade to England, where she signed for Liverpool. She has since crossed to Arsenal Ladies.
With a record of 11 goals from 17 caps for Nigeria, Oshoala is hoping to take her football career to a higher mark with the Cameroon 2016 Nations Cup.
Oshoala and 20 other players made the Falcons squad to Cameroon. The others include the highest goal scorer at Namibia 2014 edition of the championship, Desire Oparanozie, Alaba Jonathan, Rita Akarekor, Ibubuleye Whyte, Ugo Njoku, Onome Ebi, Faith Ikidi, Ohale Osinachi, Ebere Ngozi, Uchechi Sunday, Ijeoma Obi, Esther Sunday and Gladys Akpa.
The captain of the Super Falcons to Namibia 2014 Nations Cup, Evelyn Nwabouku, could not make the team due to injury.