By Monsurah Olatunji
Shanghai striker Francisca Ordega has named former Arsenal star Thierry Henry as her idol, stating she grew up watching him.
French man Henry is probably one of the biggest inspirations for many strikers today, this is the case of Nigerian star Ordega as she revealed how she idolizes Henry and how she’s grown as a striker over the years.
She is arguably one of Africa’s best strikers today, she has won four Africa Women’s Cup of Nations, played at three Women’s World Cups and has revealed she always looked up to Henry as her best example.
“Growing up with my football-loving brother [Samuel Ordega], I don’t watch football or support any team or player then,” Ordega said in an Instagram interview with our correspondent Monsurah Olatunji.
“He came home one day ranting about ‘Igwe’. It was sometime in 2004, I think it was a game against Leeds United where Henry scored four goals. The name ‘Igwe’ became a new song all over the house as my brother won’t stop talking about him. So I asked ‘who is this Igwe?’, he told me stories about Henry’s performance.
“I told him to take me next time he is going to see a game. The next game was a Premier League, I can’t recall who Arsenal played but I followed him to the viewing center in our neighborhood because I wanted to know Igwe.
“When the game started, my brother was already lost and so focused on the game that he forgot I came with him to be shown ‘Igwe’. Surprisingly, without being told immediately the camera zoomed in on Henry, I said to myself this must be ‘Igwe’ but I was waiting to see the name ‘Igwe’ inscribed on his shirt, all I saw on the shirt was Henry.
“I focused on him throughout the game because I fell in love with the way he played, his understanding of the game, his pace, his scoring ability, I just love everything about him that day.
“When he scored in that game, I screamed Igwe, that was when my brother realised he came with someone (me). At halftime, he asked ‘who told you that was Igwe?’ My reply was simple and straightforward, I said ‘Igwe means King and on that pitch today, only Henry deserved to be called a King’. He laughed and said now you know why we called him Igwe.
“Since that day, I started watching him closely and I promised to be a player like him. I love players who can run so well with the ball.
I am yet to meet him but I hope to meet him soon because he is my idol.”