A Week In The Life: The Nigerian Female Footballer Nursing Abroad Dreams

January 19, 2021

“A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.


The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is Anthonia,  an amateur footballer. Anthonia kicked a ball for the first time when she was 6 years old, and she’s never looked back. Through twists, turns and the Nigerian condition, she has pursued her football career. She talks about her plans to play football in colleges outside Nigeria while studying to be a sports nurse. She also talks about why all her plans are hedged on minimising regrets.

MONDAY:

My mornings are always different. Some days, I wake up and go for morning training, on other days, I wake up and do house chores. It all depends on how lucky and early I wake up that day. Today is one of the not-so-lucky days, so I’m going to stay back, do my chores and then start my day. 

At least I’ll be able to play FIFA or watch a movie before evening training. 

After my chores, I look through my movie and TV show selection — When They See Us, Nollywood movies, Korean action movies — and nothing catches my attention. I’m going to play FIFA instead. It turns out that my brothers and their friends have fired up the PS4 and are starting a FIFA tournament. And I must surely play. Because many people come to our house to play, tournament matches are very competitive, so you have to be very good. If you’re weak, you’ll get yabbed so much you’ll not like yourself. I’m not too worried because I think I can hold my ground. Let me tell you a secret: I’m the second-best player in this house, so I know I’ll be fine. [haha]

TUESDAY:

I started playing football when I was 6 years old. I remember people not wanting to choose me on their team for five-a-aside and my brother was the only person who believed in me. It’s that belief that still powers me. From that time, I’ve played football through nursery, primary and secondary school. Anytime I look back at my journey, I just smile. One of the highlights of my career was in 2019, when I went to play a competition in Ogun state. I’ll never forget that day because of how nervous I felt. It was my first time as part of the starting line up, and I was starting as a replacement to the number 9 who had fucked up. Omo, I was afraid. I was like, “How am I going to do this thing?” Then I entered the pitch and calmed myself down. By the time the match started, I was in my zone and I even scored that day. A midfielder gave me a through pass, I was one on one with the keeper, and I placed the ball to the sweet right side of the post. Anytime I remember that goal, even if I’m sleeping, I just start smiling. 

WEDNESDAY:

I was 17 the first time I left home to go to play football. I remember I was so scared that I cried when my mum dropped me at the park. But now I’m a strong lady [haha]. I’m 18 years old and I’ve experienced the good and bad side of football. The good side is that football has taken me to places outside of my hometown of Ekiti; I’ve gone to Lagos, Abuja, Ogun, Ibadan. All these are new experiences for me. I’ve also faced some bad sides like people underrating me because I’m a girl. I know it’s not easy for a lady footballer but I’ll make it. There’s also the fact that guys try to take advantage of me. Because of the scarcity of female teams at my level, I currently play with a boys team, so anytime we have a match, I see things. There was a match where I was subbed in from the bench, and as I entered the field, one guy said to another: “If she wants to dribble past you, just touch her breast.” I was like, “WTF?”. I blasted him that day and my teammates also joined me. I’ll not lie, I felt bad.  I later shrugged it off because it’s part of the experience. 

THURSDAY:

The female team where I live are not that reliable. Not to sound proud or anything, but I feel that I’m not on the same level with them. They are just learning the basics: how to control a ball, how to pass, and I’m past that stage. One of the reasons why I play with boys is that if I want to grow, I have to play with people bigger than me so I can learn. I use all my energy when playing with guys, which is different from how I play with girls. I’ll not even lie, the best part is when I dribble the guys. What makes it sweeter is that our supporters will just be shouting, “A girl dribbled you.” Anytime I disgrace those boys on the field, I’m happy.

Someone I look up to is Asisat Oshoala. Her story is inspiring and I like the fact that despite the environment she grew up in, she still turned out amazing. Our stories aren’t similar because I live in Ekiti, which is calm, while she grew up in Lagos, which is rough. To be honest, Lagos is a ghetto because the wahala is too much. I met Asisat once when I was in Lagos, but we didn’t get to talk one-on-one because it was a group event. I was so happy and I even took a picture with her. Sometimes, when I get sad that the phone containing the picture was stolen, I remind myself that when I become a superstar I’ll take plenty of pictures with Asisat. 

FRIDAY:

People ask how I play football when I get cramps and the answer is that I don’t get serious cramps, so it doesn’t really affect me. Whenever I’m on my period, I either play my best or worst game. I can’t make any excuse because my period pain is manageable. Period or no period, I still dribble, give through passes, and body check these boys.

SATURDAY:

If I see an agent that is serious with securing my future, I’ll consider leaving Ekiti. The thing is that I’m not ready to play for Nigerian teams. I want to go to university and play football at the same time. And we both know that’s not possible in this country, so I’ve actively started looking for athlete’s scholarship outside Nigeria. I have to leave for the sake of my talent because this country kills talent.

I want to study nursing while playing football so that when my time as a player is up, I’ll become a sports nurse. I want to see people get well, I want to help people, I want to put a smile on people’s faces whenever I treat them. All these can’t happen if I stay back. My worst fear is that if I stay back in Nigeria, I’ll stop playing football. Even if I eventually go on to be a  Nigerian nurse, I’ll still feel incomplete without exploring the football route. I don’t want a situation in the future where I’ll say that I once played football, but I never went anywhere with it. I never achieved anything. I’m not going to like that feeling. 


Check back every Tuesday by 9 am for more “A Week In The Life ” goodness, and if you would like to be featured or you know anyone who fits the profile, fill this form.

Zikoko Donation Banner

Help Zikoko keep making the content you love

More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.

Thank you for your support.

We are also cool with Crypto.

Donation Close
Zikoko Logo

Complete Your Commitment

Donation confirm

Your Contribution is confirmed! Amount

Hassan Yahaya

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

December 7, 2020

If you find yourself dreading Sunday nights and Monday mornings then this post is calling your name. Answer below: 1) Your face every Monday Morning If God wants to punish you, you also work during the weekend. 2) Salary alert no longer moves you Money that has finished before it even lands. 3) Going on […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

March 7, 2021

What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up. “Man Like” is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means […]

Recommended Quizzes

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

November 15, 2019

There are two types of people in Nigeria right now: those who are proud Marlians, and those who are still in denial about stanning the divisive star. So, for those who proudly wear the Marlian tag, we made a quiz to test how well you really know Naira Marley. If you get more than 6 […]

April 1, 2020

Everyone has a Nigerian bank that matches their personality. You could either be as likeable as GTB, as efficient as Access or as mature as First Bank. Either way, all you have to do is take this quiz and we’ll let you know with almost 100% certainty. So, go ahead:

More from Hustle

February 8, 2021

The experiences of queer people any and everywhere are far from monolithic. Oppression takes many forms and, sometimes, the fact that you can or cannot pass as a member of a non-marginalised community is what determines how much or what type of oppression/marginalisation gets thrown your way.  Passing, in the simplest terms, is the ability […]

January 12, 2021

“A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week. The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is an Alaga Iyawo. These […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X