By Monsurah Olatunji
Madrid CFF star Chidinma Okeke has revealed the strong bond between her and Barcelona striker Asisat Oshoala.
The defender featured for Nigeria’s senior women’s side for the first time in their first Wafu Women’s Cup triumph in Cote d’Ivoire last year.
Her huge contributions later earned her a spot at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, where she provided an assist for Oshoala to seal the team’s only win at the tournament – easing a passage to the Round of 16.
Like Oshoala, the 19-year-old was also a product of Lagos based Nigeria WOmen’s Premier League outfit FC Robo Queens before her move to Spanish giants Madrid CFF last summer and narrates how the reigning African Women’s Player of the Year has always been there for her.
“We are both products of FC Robo but our relationship goes beyond teammates,” Okeke told SavidNews.com
“When I had the opportunity to play against Norway, she came to me at the sideline and said to me in Yoruba ‘fara bale’ which literally means ‘to calm down’. She said I can do it and should just be myself. That moment means a lot to me, because it shows that I have someone who got my back.
“When I got the ball against Korea, I was struggling to keep my feet on the ground cos I almost fell from the tackle. Immediately I gained the ball, I looked up and saw Oshoala pointing to have the ball, I know her ability when it comes to strength and pace, so I just passed the ball into space for her to catch up with. She ran past the defense and scored.
“I was so happy when she came to me, lifted me up, hug me and was hitting my head saying ‘I told you, you can do it, baby girl’. Those words meant a lot to me because I never thought I would have an assist in my first world cup outing.
“I have always been the baby girl, always having someone to talk to. I have never been by myself all my life. But the story changed when I signed a deal with Madrid CFF.
“This is the first time I am moving out of my family and have to stay alone by myself. Oshoala is the one who is always there for me. She called to check on me, she visits at times to be sure I am good. She stayed not too far from me.
“When I got injured and have to undergo surgery, she was there for me. I was afraid I have no family here but she comforted me. She advised me, she helped me in a lot of ways. She made settled well in Spain.
“Whenever I need someone to talk to, she’s always there to listen to my rants. She never gets tired of me. After my injury was done, she called to know how it went and visited when necessary.
“I must confess, she is an angel on and off the pitch and I am always happy around her.”