In this exclusive interview with Super Falcons and Atletico Madrid player, Francisca Ordega , in Spain, she sheds more light on how fortune has continued to smile on her for choosing a career in the round leather game, her passion, her sojourn at Atletico Madrid and many more. Excerpts:
How did you come to love football?
I was lucky to be among the people that they picked to go and be the ball girl for the national U-19 team while they were being hosted by our Governor in my state. When I got there, I saw them wearing our national colours: Green, White, and Green, and I saw them running around like men, doing what men do. When I saw that, I thought to myself “oh I think I like this!” because a lot of people were there watching them and clapping and cheering them on. I also thought “wow it feels amazing you know, a woman doing the same thing, having my surname on the back of a shirt” I was really moved by the way people were almost worshipping them, and the way the whole thing was going. They feed them, they take good care of them, and everything was really just amazing. As a result of this, I got interested in football and started working hard to become a professional footballer.
Were your parents supportive of your dreams to be a professional footballer?
My mum was very much against football because she doesn’t like sports, but my father was always there for me, and sometimes he would be the one to buy me football boots, and my mum did not like that. She wanted me to go to school instead.
How do you feel deep down about football?
I eat football, I dream football, I sleep football, and I do everything with football! Without football I don’t know whether I can survive, so for now, I really love football. It is my life.
When did your dreams of playing professional football for the first time start coming to pass?
In 2012, I got to play in the women’s U-20 championship in Japan, and that is where my dreams started coming to pass. I was actually injured, I had an ankle injury, but I managed to soldier on and finish the tournament.
When did you sign you first contract?
It was at this tournament I met an agent who asked me if I wanted to go to Russia to play football, and I said sure, fine, okay I’m in. When I got to Russia, everything was not so great initially. My injury, the cold, missing my family and friend because I was still young. The language too was hard to understand, I couldn’t do it, so I ran back to Nigeria fast.
You now play for a very big club, Atlético de Madrid. Tell us about this.
In 2017, I was approached and signed by Atlético de Madrid Femenino, and it was a no brainer. For me it is an honour, I am very happy to be here, Atlético de Madrid is a great club, internationally recognized, and I really cannot wait to start.
How would you define yourself as a footballer?
Francisca Ordega is a strong player physically, very athletic and very fast. I will do all I can to make the fans feel proud of me.
Ordega (born 19 October 1993) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for Atlético Madrid in the Primera División on loan from Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). She represented Nigeria women’s national football team (Super Falcons) at both the FIFA Women’s World Cup and African Women’s Championship.
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