Queens Time: Female Nigerian Footballers Playing Abroad

Women’s football doesn’t get the attention it deserves, by far. If you take a look at the soccer news, all headlines speak of the men’s version of the sport. It’s a pity because women’s football offers as much quality and excitement as the “usual” one.

Just look at the excellent performance of footballers at the Africa Women Cup of Nations – the Super Falcons have won all but two editions since 1998. As you might expect, many Nigerian footballers are courted by clubs abroad – and they continue to play at European teams while still representing their home country.

Uchenna Kanu

24-year-old forward Uchenna Grace Kanu started her college football career with Southeastern Fire, the women’s soccer team of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, in 2016. In her two years there, she scored more than 110 goals in just 55 games. Going pro, she spent two years with Pensacola FC, from where she moved on to Swedish team Linköpings FC – but not before a brief stint with Spanish team Sevilla.

Kanu has represented Nigeria at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2014.

Patricia George

Another Nigerian ex-pat raised in the US, Patricia George started her professional career with the University of Illinois female soccer team Illinois Fighting Illini after playing with the Von Steuben Panthers while in high school. Once she went pro, she played with BV Cloppenburg for a short time before moving on to the German Bundesliga team SC Sand last year.

Patricia George only played once with the Super Falcons so far.

Onome Ebi

Onome Ebi has quite a few teams on her resume. She went pro with the Omidiran Babes FC before moving on to the Nigerian Women’s Championship team Bayelsa Queens in 2008. In 2009, she went on to play in Europe, first with the Swedish team Piteå, then at various teams in Turkey and Sweden, before joining FC Minks in 2014. She left the team in 2017 to play in the Chinese Women’s Super League before returning to FC Minsk – she currently plays there as a defender.

Onome Ebi is the first African footballer to play in five World Cup tournaments – she was with the Super Falcons in the 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 editions.

Rasheedat Ajibade

Rasheedat Busayo Ajibade played with FC Robo between 2013 and 2018, leaving a lasting impression, making it to captaincy, and was voted Player of the Season in 2017. In 2018, it was time for her to leave: she first joined the Norwegian team Avaldnes, staying there for two seasons, before being signed by Atlético de Madrid in a two-year contract this January.

Ajibade represented Nigeria successfully at the 2014 FIFA U-17 World Cup, and in all editions ever since. Once turned senior, she was part of the Super Falcons’ winning squad at the 2018 African Nations Championship.

Charity Adule

A native of Warri, Charity Adule joined the Port Harcourt team Rivers Angels in 2006 as soon as she went pro. Five years later, she moved on to the Bayelsa Queens for three seasons, playing in 40 league games and scoring almost 60 goals while there. She made an impression on the scouts of BIIK Kazygurt, a Kazakhstan team that signed her in 2014. While she played there, the club won the national league every season. She spent four seasons there before moving on to SD Eibar in 2019.