Super Falcons defender, Onome Ebi has claimed her football career began from when she was in her mothers’ womb while noting that each time she was denied going out to play football, she would fall sick, the SportsBay.com reports.
The Henan Huishang of China defender said that despite starting to play football very early in her life, she faced parental challenges as her father never approved her being a footballer.
The former Bayelsa Queens defender however, said her father later agreed to allow her play football but after she had fallen sick and was admitted for four days in the hospital.
“I play for Super Falcons of Nigeria. I started playing football from my mother’s womb like I always tell people that ask me. Because when I was so little I found myself kicking everything I see on the street. I kicked stones, oranges. In my street when they are playing guys competition, they always included me to play with them.
“Challenges are there because female football is not always easy and you have some of these challenges. The one I had that really touched me and almost got me stop playing was my parents. They really wanted me to stop playing and focus on my education. They thought that playing football was affecting my education and they really wanted me to become something else not a footballer.
“But I made them understand that this is what I love doing and I cannot stop it. There are times when they will stop me from going to training and I will fall sick. The next thing is that they found me in hospital bed.
“My Dad got worried and realised that there is nothing he can do to stop me from playing. The last time I was admitted in the hospital, I was to spend two days but I ended up spending four days. That got him very worried and concerned about what I wanted to do being a footballer.
“After my school days he would allow me to go when the manager of the team I played for came to ask for me, to ask them to release me to play with them. That was how my dad left me to play football,” she said.
She however expressed hope to upcoming female footballers and encouraged them to aspire to achieve their dreams in spite of parental challenges.
“Female football now is really something interesting and if really it is what you love doing, I am promising every girl that will love to play football that they will enjoy it. They will enjoy playing and will never regret it. They should go all out for their goal and achieve it.”
Onome Ebi played in all of Nigeria’s games at the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup and is now the only African to have played in five World Cups, featuring in the 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 editions.
The veteran, who started out at Omidiran Babes in Nigeria, also won the African Women’s Cup of Nations four times in six outings and has made 81 appearances for the West Africans.
She featured in Turkey for Duvenciler Lisesispor and Atasehir Belediyespor, where she won the Turkish Women’s First Football League twice and later won the Women’s Premier League, Cup, and Super Cup during her three-year stint with Minsk.