By Monsurah Olatunji
Nigeria striker Charity Adule admits she is in love but not under any pressure to marry just yet.
The former BIIK Kazygurt striker insists women’s football in Africa are at a huge disadvantage compared with their counterparts in Europe in the desire to tie the knots while playing active football.
In this exclusive interview, she opened up on several issues about her #LoveandFootball life and the stigmatization the women’s footballers from the black continent contend with on a daily basis.
The former youth international, who starred for Nigeria at the 2010 U20 Women’s World Cup in Germany when Nigeria finished as runners-up following a 2-0 final defeat to the hosts.
The 26-year-old, who has previously excelled at Pelican Stars, Rivers Angels and Bayelsa Queens in Nigeria, who is making waves in the Reto Iberdrola with Eibar this season, scoring nine goals in 13 games.
Monsurah Olatunji: Are you in a relationship and how do you meet the prince charming?
Charity Adule: Yes! I am in love. I actually met him at the cinema.
MO: How has football affected your love life?
CA: Football has affected my love life positively because my boyfriend has been so supportive.
MO: When do you consider the perfect time to get married (when still actively playing or when retired)?
CA: I will consider marriage when the time is right whether I am still active or might have retired.
MO: Considering how Africa parents react to their daughter’s life, has there been any pressure to get married from your parents?
CA: I have no pressure to get married from my parents because they know definitely that I will get married when the time is right.
MO: What is your kind of man?
CA: A God-fearing, loving, caring, intelligent and neat man.
MO: If you can turn back time, is there anything you wish to change or have done better?
CA: I don’t think that will be necessary as it has been fun all through both my love and football life.
MO: Some think Nigeria women’s footballers can’t be in a successful relationship while they play compared to their colleagues abroad, and that’s why many get very old before getting married or not even marry at all. What did you think about this?
CA: First of all, I think we have to break those stereotypes. The reason because from my perspective, by comparing and contrasting our foreign counterpart with Nigeria women football players, there is no need for comparison at all. In the sense that, foreign players have a lot of visibility, accessibility, flexibility, plans, focus and transparency which makes it easy for them to combine footballing and love life together at the same time. They are also well organised mentally, physically and emotionally.
For instance, abroad you can get married, have babies and still continue to pursue your professional career afterward because they got help and support both from their immediate family and football colleagues. But in Nigeria – to be honest, that is a different ball game – In fact, to combine both in Nigeria is really difficult, coupled with the fact that there is no help or support package anywhere, neither from the government nor relatives.
As a matter of fact, some people or even your family may stigmatize you as a wayward person and an unserious fellow.
MO: What do you think turn-off men away from Nigeria women players? Could it be the fame or money or time (traveling) or their mode of dress (tomboy life)?
CA: I think it is slightly due to dress mode and some players (especially local-based) forgetting that they are women and that no matter how much money you have or fame you get you will still end up in a man’s house as his wife because it is often the prayer of every woman.
MO; What is your #LoveAndFootball advice for the generations coming after you?
CA: My #LoveAndFootball advice for the generation coming after me is for them to concentrate on their football career, get fit, fitter than your teammates, practice footwork outside of hours, and don’t let anyone step on your confidence. Make sure you’re physically strong and durable. Weight train to make sure you’re not being thrown around like a doll when out on the field. Be confident in yourself and have a lion’s heart. Above all, a good attitude goes a long way in improving your performance. And lastly, still, give love a chance because they are women and definitely one day they will get married.