Popularly known as the Blue Hair girl and now Jesus’ Baby, Rasheedat Ajibade needs no introduction in women’s Football in Nigeria and Africa at large.
The beautiful Nigerian forward Started her career at FC Robo in Lagos state, Nigeria and has gone on to become a household name in Women’s Football.
Just like her country woman Asisat Oshoala , RASH as fondly called represented Nigeria at the Under 17 and Under 20 level and has gone on to become an integral member of the nation’s senior women national team, Super Falcons.
The Super Falcons aspirations at the concluded 2022 WAFCON tournament may have not been fully met but the 2018 AWCON winner and one time captain of the Super Falcons of Nigeria was a joy to watch at the last WAFCON tournament where Nigeria ended 4th best, Ajibade was deservedly rewarded with the Joint golden Boot award, she finished the tournament with 3 goals alongside South Africa’s Hilda Magaia and Morocco’s Ghizlane.
The star forward who recently bagged a degree in Coaching Psychology & Sports management from the El roi University in London spoke extensively on Nigeria’s female football.
In this interview with Elegbetetv.com, the Atleti feminine attacker who had an amazing last season and has continued from where she stopped in this new season spoke on the disappointment from the WAFCON, on whether she’s the next big thing in African Football and the world to an extent, the Growth of the Nigeria Women’s Football League, NWFL and how other nations are supposedly catching up with the Super Falcons of Nigeria.
On the WAFCON with the Falcons in Morocco, and the lessons learnt she said:
“ There are lots of lessons to learn from the just concluded WAFCON, but in whatever happens, I give glory to God. I believe everything happens for good. I may be disappointed, but I have a strong faith and believe that whatever happens, you still have to keep pushing. When life knocks you down, you don’t stay down, you get up and keep striving for mastery. I am looking forward to the World Cup. We expect a positive outcome and above all, let the will of God be done.’’
On her season with Atleti previously and the new one which is on right now, she said:
” I had a good last season with Atleti, and that has always been my hope and prayers, always to have a good season. To keep up with whatever I am doing, and to maintain this level and that’s the aim for this season also. So the most important thing for me is to get better physically, mentally, psychologically, spiritually and in every other aspect. I see myself as the next big thing in female football, but it’s only God that lifts one up. We can only try our best to make sure that we get to that level.
So I will keep doing the best I can. Being dedicated and committed to my job, praying and trusting that everything’s going to work perfectly fine.”
The last WAFCON in Morocco sprung up conversations around Nigeria being caught up with and if their dominance could likely be reaching a halt. Rasheedat speaking on it agreed with the Notion and said:
” Yeah. There are a lot of talks that Nigeria is being caught up by other nations. Of course, like they say, change is constant in life. There is no permanent champion in life.
I do agree, because all of these countries are investing in sports, and in women’s football. Players are also improving individually, because everybody understands that football has given them a great platform to become whatever they want to become. Everybody wants to be celebrated. “
” People have improved, nations have improved and one way or the other, caught up. Because I think the most important thing for every human that really wants to maintain its success is all about yeah, if you know, I will make an example of a teacher who is teaching a student. If you are teaching a student, you have to dig extra miles because you’re impacting knowledge on those people. As long as you keep impacting those children, of course they themselves always, if you’re not careful, they will catch up with you. So the only thing you can do is if you show that one step, you have to go ten steps ahead. “
” Again, you have to go ten steps ahead, you have to do something that they are not doing. You have to invest in yourself. The more you have to read books that even if you thought they could lay their hands on it, you have to do what they are not doing.
” So, if we really want to maintain our dominance, then we have to hugely invest in our sports, and in female football.”
” We have to give it the time it needs to grow and to develop. Because a lot of countries have really woken up. They know we are a threat, and everybody wants to beat Nigeria. It’s not easy to have been there nine times.”
” Because we dominated for a long time, we felt it’s our birthright. But it’s good that things like this happen, so we can all wake up. It’s not a time to give up or to feel bad. It’s only time to get better. “
” I think it’s a wake up call for all of us, and for the nation, if we want to get a different result, then we have to change what you’re doing. To get a different result you have to change your pattern. “
” You have to change your structure. We just have to do more to become more. “
For one who grew through the ranks of the Women’s League in Nigeria to become what she has become now, she spoke on how she’d still want the league to develop to ensure it helps younger folks looking to break.
” For the NWFL, there are a lot of things to improve on. Lately, I honestly wouldn’t want to say so much about it because I got to hear some information recently about the Aiteo Cup and other things. I have grassroots teams that I follow up everyday to know how far they’re faring in the league”.
” Of course, the league has not started right now, but there are a lot of disheartening things, information, organization, structures and things that are not put in place. I feel like we should have gone past this level and these are the kind of things that when put in place, will give hope to the young athletes. “
It will give them the energy, power, and strength to keep striving, knowing well that the future is bright. But whenever they see they are not put in place, it really dampens the morale. We forget that these leagues should be the basis of growth and development for every player that wants to play in the national team, or ply their trade in Europe, the league should be there, and all of these things should be there to help them.
” I played in the NWFL, and it has impacted me in a very good way. It should get better. Honestly I just feel bad, I don’t really want to say anything about it. Maybe we discuss more on this some other time, but there are a lot of things to be done. Lot of things to be done, like right now, it’s nothing to write home much about. I don’t even know what to say. “
” Whatever it is that is happening right now, I just hope they sort it out so that the young athletes that are coming up will see a better future in this talent that God has given them. Because if we look at other leagues here in Europe.”
” If we look at the structure and all of that, why are we hungry to come and play here? Why do we? It should be that when we finish playing in Europe, we should come back and play at home, but it’s not like that for us, but understanding that so well and coupled with the facts of the government’s attitude, everything that’s happening from the top to the bottom there are a lot of things happening that everything is just under woven and it’s affecting each other. So I don’t really know what to say but I pray God takes control and also we as we can do our parts to help the work of God because of course really call God but a lot of work is supposed to be ourselves supposed to do that God has nothing to do with all of those things, it’s just sometimes common sense. But I pray, like I said, God will give us the wisdom to do the right thing and put things and all that and so that the future of the younger generation that is coming behind can be brighter than the former one.”