From Gboko to Athletico Madrid: the untold story of Francisca Ordega

From a ball girl in Benue State to a professional footballer at Washington Spirit, the story of Super Falcons Francisca

According to Ordega the big decision to become a professional footballer was taken on that field that very day. Fast forward a few years later and today ‘That Gboko ball girl’ now has her surname boldly written at the back of her jersey accompanied with the number ’12’ at Atletico Madrid.

Furthermore, into her story, Ordega narrated with clearer pictures how she was discouraged by her mother from playing football because momma Ordega wasn’t a sports lover and insisted her beautiful daughter should acquire education in school. She presented the situation with a voice that exuded honesty and calm while giving credit to her father who is ‘the right man for her’ with his sheer supports and encouragements.

Ordega’s hard work and dedication to the beautiful game earned her a place in the national team as she was called up for the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup (women’s football tournament) in Trinidad and Tobago and that was when her mother started ‘believing in her’ she nodded continuously while explaining this part. The Super Falcons forward lamented on the conventional challenge faced by the girl-child who are professional football aspirants which she had to face in her own home and among neighbours who tried to advice her mother against her football dreams.

At this point, it felt like she has gotten to the end of the tunnel where the light shone so bright as the Washington Spirit player boasted of being able to change the perception of the people towards women in football, at least in her hometown of Gboko. The same people that never supported her football dreams and career now queue up for her autographs like the line up in an ATM machine during the holiday period; you can only but imagine the length of the queue.

Francisca Ordega is a forward thinker just like her position in the beautiful game. The self-driven footballer shares in the school of thought that say, you can be and achieve anything in this world even without the support of your parents. A theory she has proved on her football journey so far!

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