Gift Monday: A Journey of Dreams and Asisat Oshoala’s Guiding Light
Gift Monday takes us on a voyage from her childhood to the grandeur of professional football, all orchestrated by Asisat Oshoala.
●13th November 2023
The story of Gift Monday is like that of a favorite band in the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, where the sounds of football meet the rhythms of everyday life. It’s the story of a budding football player whose aspirations are nourished by inspiration from Asisat Oshoala.
In a conversation with BOUNCE, the Super Falcons youngster shares her story on how she became a professional footballer and Agba Baller’s influence on her career.
As a young girl immersed in the thrill of street football, Gift’s friends would frequently chatter about Oshoala, weaving tales of a female football virtuoso. At that point, the idea of women playing football professionally seemed like a distant fantasy, especially as Gift had spent her formative years engaging in football matches predominantly dominated by guys.
“When I was playing street football, my friends in the neighborhood would always talk about Asisat Oshoala. I never believed females played football professionally because I grew up playing football amongst guys, and I never saw a girl play football.” Gift reminisces, tracing the roots of her football journey.
As puberty set in and competitions became gender-specific, Gift discovered the world of female football. Asisat Oshoala’s name, once a distant echo, became a beacon of possibility. “Do you know Asisat?” her friends would ask, and Gift’s curiosity sparked. “So there’s someone playing professionally,” she realized, and the seed of inspiration was planted.
“When I graduated from secondary school, I joined FC Robo. Whenever Asisat came back to Nigeria for a holiday, she would always train with us, and I was always so happy to see someone who I looked up to.”.
Gift’s journey from the bustling streets of Lagos to FC Robo didn’t go unnoticed. She caught the attention of Bayelsa Queens, contributing twelve goals to their NWFL triumph in the 2021/2022 season. The dream was in motion, and just after the 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations hosted by Morocco, Gift signed a two-year deal with La Liga Femini side UDG Tenerife.
As she reflects on her journey, Gift shares, “With time, we got close. She’d always speak to me and offer advice. It was there that I said to myself, ‘Oh God, a dream come true.'” The mentorship from Asisat not only fueled Gift’s growth as a player but also fostered a deep connection, turning a dream into a tangible reality.
Thank you so much for giving us such royal treatment during our visit! Thank you so much for your sincere support to women’s football. You truly are a governor for all @jidesanwoolu 🇳🇬🤗🙏 pic.twitter.com/GCxNx5xW75
Representing the Super Falcons in prestigious tournaments like the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Gift continues to shine on the international stage. “My lifelong dream has come true, bringing both excitement and reflection with this opportunity,” Gift expresses, acknowledging the significance of her journey.
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