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Wonder Girl, Oshoala, Wins BBC Player Of The Year

Oladipo Okubanjo

Asisat Oshoala, yesterday, added another laurel to her growing collection when she was named winner of the maiden British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Footballer of the Year Award.

The Nigeria international beat FIFA Ballon D’Or winner, Nadine Kessler of Germany, Veronica Boquete of Spain, Kim Little of Scotland and a four-time Ballon D’Or winner Marta of Brazil, to the award. It was the sixth individual honour for the Liverpool Ladies striker in the space of 10 months. Oshoala had in August 2014 won the Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player awards at the FIFA Women’s Under-20 World Cup in Canada.

Two months later, she was voted Most Valuable Player on her debut at the African Women’s Championship in Namibia. And in January this year, she won both the Women’s Footballer of the Year and the Young Player of the Year awards at the 2014 CAF African Footballer of the Year Awards in held in Lagos.

Speaking in an interview shortly after receiving her BBC award, Oshoala said the honour was a big lift for Nigeria’s Super Falcons ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and would help inspire young players in her homeland. She said: “It’s a really good thing for us as a team because we now know that we have something great and now we want to go at the trophy.

We can do it, we did it in 2014 we can also do it this year as well. “There is going to be a lot of motivation for women’s football in Nigeria now because of this award because there are a lot of fans out there. “Support for women’s foot- b a l l in Nigeria is n o w growing very high.

“I know my Liverpool Ladies coach is going to be happy right now. Before I left the UK he called me and said to me   ‘don’t worry I hope you win the award and we’re going to celebrate it when you come back’.”

Mary Hockaday, controller of BBC World Service English, paid tribute to Oshoala. “At still only 20, she’s proved herself a formidable talent on the pitch,” she said.

“I’m proud BBC World Service is supporting the women’s game and thrilled with the interest in the award.”

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