Why Barcelona’s Nigerian Star Asisat Oshoala Keeps Dividing Opinions

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If there was a list of the Pantheon of all-time Nigerian women goal scorers, Asisat Oshoala will surely be in the top echelon.

Whilst she might have a contrasting career to most, there’s very little doubt about her quality, and today as never before, in the competitive field of Women’s football in Africa, Oshoala is undoubtedly the best Forward.

But, why does the 27 year-old seem to underachieve with the National Team, while on the other hand, at club level with Barcelona now, she has established a legacy?

It wouldn’t make for a fine discourse to reduce a subject this intriguing to the stables of “only” team chemistry.

World class players don’t pick and chose where and when to show their worth and the frequency of games played won’t stick as a valid reason neither.

Hence, when Randy Waldrum, the 66-year old coach of the Nigeria WNT, offered his opinion on the matter, it seemed rather like a half-hearted defense.

In the Liga F , alone, the previous two seasons, Oshoala scored a combined 38 goals in 45 appearances, those are numbers expected of a lethal finisher – and compliments on the house banner – Barcelona Feminine.

Barça have been the best team in Spain since the 2018/19 season as have been Nigeria in Africa.

However, the difference between both is stability in management and improvement of the squad; the former Nigeria is dreadful at and ignoring the latter has stunted the team’s growth as much as it greatly inhibits the performances of the top stars.

True enough the Super Falcons don’t get enough games and that could create a problem, but it’s more often than not a management or coaching problem than the quality of individual performances.

Clearly, for any system to work optimally, instructions must be expressed lucidly and seen to be understood in practice and ultimately game situations.

Oshoala is a poacher; she’s in her predatory mode and at her absolute best when played as the spear head. But, she has a support cast that greatly improves her efficiency and makes it relatively easy to do the one job she’s got on the pitch – bang in goals.

This season in the Liga F, she has scored 19 goals in 23 appearances; she’s on course to surpass her highest goals tally in a Barcelona in a single season.

On Friday against Haiti, she scored her first goal for Nigeria after two years, a relief for a super star who divides opinion back home.

But it is a small step to regaining the trust of fans, although it makes for good anticipation ahead of July’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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