Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala, better known to her team-mates as ‘Superzee’, was in truly superlative form on Wednesday evening, conjuring up four goals and two assists as the Africans overpowered Korea DPR 6-2 in the semi-finals of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014.
A few days before the game FIFA.com had interviewed the bubbly striker in Moncton. Curious to find out more about following her stunning display, we asked six of her team-mates – one for every one of her collection of goals and assists against the North Koreans – to give us the lowdown on the amazing Superzee.
Courtney Dike: A good room-mate
Nigeria’s first goal came after Oshoala threaded an inch-perfect through-ball to Dike, an indication of their understanding on the pitch. “She makes my job a whole lot easier,” said the forward, who shares a room with ‘Superzee’, a factor perhaps in their on-field telepathy. “She’s given me a lot of help in settling into the team and she’s a great person. She doesn’t snore either, although she sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night and starts playing music.”
Ugo Njoku: Dance partner extraordinaire
Whenever Oshoala finds the back of the net, she always seeks out Njoku, her team-mate back home with Rivers Angels, to celebrate the goal with a little dance. Today was no exception, as Njoku explained: “We love dancing and celebrating, and so does the rest of the team.” While many have dubbed ‘Superzee’ one of the revelations of the tournament, her performances have come as no surprise to Njoku: “I was thinking before the World Cup that she could end up doing something like this. I believe in her and her tremendous strength.”
Uchechi Sunday: The ideal strike partner
Supersub Sunday struck again on Wednesday, getting on the end of an Oshoala cross from the right to score her side’s third goal just a minute after coming on. “It’s a move we practice a lot in training,” said the free-scoring sub. “We also play together for Rivers Angels back home and we have a perfect understanding.” An out-and-out No9, the smiling Sunday likes to have Oshoala close by, as she explained: “When we’re together on the pitch I prefer to have her just behind me, in the hole, so she can give me assists like the one today.”
Sarah Nnodim: She plays better than she sings
Oshoala’s virtuoso performance also included a stint in central defence covering for her team-mate Nnodim, who went off briefly to have treatment for an injury. On the centre-half’s return to the pitch, ‘Superzee’ promptly went up the other end and scored her fourth goal of the afternoon. “She filled in for me and that’s good, because it shows we are a real team and we all help each other out,” said Nnodim, who is the team’s unofficial choir leader. Giving a frank assessment of her team-mate’s singing skills, she said: “She’s a better footballer than she is a singer.”
Ebere Okoye: A born leader
Though the whole Nigeria team celebrated Oshoala’s outstanding display, stand-in captain Okoye was especially proud at her performance. “I was excited to see her play so well – excited and very happy,” said the skipper for the day, who pulls on the armband whenever Patience Okaeme is out of the side. Modest to a fault, Okeye is more than happy to recognise Oshoala’s leadership qualities: “She’s the player we love the most and she’s the leader. And she always does her very best too.”
Loveth Ayila: The joker in the pack
Though a fellow forward, Ayila’s job against the North Koreans was to watch Oshoala’s back. “She’s a lot of fun and she spends the whole day joking around,” said Ayila before making a special promise ahead of this weekend’s final against Germany: “Asisat carried the coach around on her shoulders because she’s the strongest and the only one able to do it, but if we win on Sunday, I promise that we’ll all do it. And we are going to win!”