World Cup 2019: How mentality of women football dey change for Africa

Super Falcons Image copyright JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/GETTY IMAGES

For Nigeria players, di Women's World Cup dey more than just football.

Di nine-time African champions na di only nation from di continent wey don qualify for every tournament since dia introduction for 1991, and di players still dey face barriers for house.

For some wey dey Nigeria, football no be acceptable work for women.

"Dis view no just dey Nigeria but for Africa as a whole," na so striker Asisat Oshoala wey dey play for Barcelona and one of di game's ogbonge talents tok.

"Di women suppose be housewives. Dem suppose dey kitchen - that na di problem. We want change dat mentality."

Nigeria get three points from dia opening two games against Norway and South Korea, dem rank 38th for di world and go face hosts France on Monday with place for di last 16 up for grabs.

But if Oshoala parents get dia way, she no go dey involved.

"I for stay with dem and dem no give me money for food,"na so Oshoala wey score for her club 4-1 Champions League final defeat by Lyon last month tok.

"I gats walk to training because dem no go give me money to do am.

"Sometimes I go leave school go train, then rush back home. Sometimes I go lie say I dey go my friend house before playing football. If I see my papa, I go run away so im no go see me."

As di kontri wey dey rank lowest for di group, Nigeria dey face tough task to make am through to di knockout stages of di competition but dey hope to leave lasting impression.

Nigeria best run come for 1999, when dem reach di quarter-finals for United States, but dem don fail to progress beyond di group stages for di past four competitions.

'Nobody want marry career woman'

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Image example Asisat Oshoala na di first African to score for di Women's Champions League final when she score for Barcelona for 4-1 defeat by Lyon for May

Women's football for Africa no dey as popular like e dey for Europe, Oshoala tok, come add say "di mentality dey really, really down".

"For Africa, na only few people dey interested for female football. Most parents no want dia pikin to play football. Dem want make dem go school. Di thing almost affect my own career but I dey lucky because I pull through."

And Shanghai Shengli forward Francisca Ordega, team-mate for national side, think say Nigeria get "long way to go" to change how pipo dey see women's football.

"A lot of di time, pipo no know wetin dey happen," Ordega tell BBC Sport. "Dem no even dey cover World Cup, which I think say bad. If na di men's team, dem go do something about am."

Ordega, 25, don play football for Russia, Sweden, America, Australia, Spain and China, and her mama tell am say she no go ever marry if she kontinu to stick to football.

"People around me go say 'you no go marry because nobody want marry career woman'," Ordega tok. "Dem don ask if e dey bother me and I tok 'no' but deep down e dey bother me because you no get di support of your loved ones.

"Challenges like that plenti every day. My mum dey against am before but now she dey happy. She no wanted me to play football for those reasons. I dey stubborn. I decide to do wetin I love. I dey happy say my stubbornness carry me somewhere."

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Image example Francisca Ordega play for Sydney FC for di Australian W-League during the 2016-17 season

Change stereotypes and inspire a continent

As well as changing pipo opinions of women's football, Ordega dey push for better pay for players for Nigeria.

"Di pay level dey low behind di men," said Ordega. "If we fit get just 30-40% of wetin dem get, e go dey really nice. Now we no dey even get 10% of that.

"We dey do di same tin dem dey do. We play 90 minutes; we play for World Cup and for Olympics."

But pay no dey di forefront of Ordega mind wen she dey represent Nigeria. To her, success no dey about money and she like to inspire di young ones.

Cameroon join Nigeria for di group stages, as well as South Africa, wey dey compete for dia first World Cup.

But na Nigeria wey many see as di symbol of hope for Africa.

"We don conquer Africa even wen we no prepare well which says alot about di team," na so Oshoala tok. "To dey go World Cup as African champions gives us responsibility. We dey represent Africa as a whole."

Taking revenge against di hosts

Wen Ordega remember her team 8-0 defeat to France over a year ago, na revenge go dey her mind as di two kontris go go head-to head for Rennes on Monday.

"We no dey fear France," says Ordega. "I like challenges. We go France last April and di result dey very bad but that na football.

"We go Germany for 2011 and lose 8-0 for di preparation for dat tournament but for di actual World Cup dem struggle to score against us. We know France na good team though."

Team-mate Oshoala tok say: "You no fit beat my country 8-0 and come back and do it again. No way!

"We go go all out against dem. We want dem to know say na mistake. We gats return our image. E go be interesting game."

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