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How would you describe your season so far in Kazakhstan?
I can say that I’ve had a fantastic season and year. It has not been easy but I thank God for what He has done for me so far in Kazakhstan and Europe.
How is FK BIIK Kazygurt doing in the Kazakhstan topflight league?
We are doing very well in the league, and we occupy the first position after 20 matches.
Are you okay with your performance so far?
It’s been so far so good and I’m happy that I have contributed immensely to the success of my team. I have contributed more than 20 assists and scored 23 goals. I can only thank God for that.
What is the experience like playing in the UEFA Women’s Champions League?
Honestly, it’s been a great and a wonderful experience for me playing in the Champions League. It exposed me to greater challenges as a footballer. Now, I understand that playing in the domestic league is quite different from playing Europe. It’s a more difficult task playing in the Champions League than in your domestic league because that is where the best clubs play.
BIIK Kazygurt lost 4-1 to Barcelona after holding the giants 1-1 at home in the Champions League. What was it like playing against such a big side?
(Laughs) Well, we lost to Barcelona not because they are better than us; I just believe that they were better on that day. That’s football anyway. But playing against such a big team in Europe was something I had been dreaming of as a player; so it was a great moment that I would like to savour and experience again.
Was it easy adapting when you first got to Europe?
As a young girl, who left her country to another country all alone, of course I found it a little bit difficult to adapt then because of the language, the food and the new environment that I found myself. So, it was difficult for me to interact and communicate with my fellow players and people over here. However, I have moved on and I’m enjoying every moment in Kazakhstan.
Are you looking at moving to the big leagues of Europe very soon?
Yes by God’s grace and hopefully, it will be very soon. I’ve had offers from clubs in other countries but I’m not ready to move yet because I still have a contract with my club. And I’m happy at BIIK Kazygurt, the fans love me.
Did your parents support you when you first started playing football?
(Laughs) My mum and dad didn’t support me, they didn’t like my involvement in football. You know as a girl, what most parents believe is that football is meant for guys and not for girls. So, at the initial stage, my parents were not happy seeing me playing football but later when they saw that it was my talent, they started supporting me.
Did they punish you for playing football?
Yes, they did. They punished me a lot because I would leave what my mum asked me to do and go and play football. And once I was caught, she (mum) and my elder brothers punished me by not giving me food; sometimes they even flogged me. But I used several tricks on them just to play football. Sometimes I would tell them that I want to go and visit our relatives, and then from there I would go and play football. After I finished playing, I would buy water and wash my body so that they won’t notice that it was football I had gone to play.
You probably started playing with boys…
(Cuts in) Yes I started playing football with men but it was not easy because back then as a young girl, you had to put in extra effort before the guys would recognise and consider you to play with them.
What were the major challenges you faced when you started as a footballer?
I think the major challenge is that some people see you as doing a job meant for men and don’t regard you the way they do to the male footballers. Normally, I felt bad because I felt neglected but as I grew up and got mature, I realised that you don’t have to mind what people think or do as far as you are doing what you love and what you know how to do best.
If you were not a footballer, what would you have been doing?
I think I would have been a fashion designer and a model because I love fashion and always love to look good and presentable. That’s why I love modeling.
What do you do before and after every game?
What I normally do before every game is to focus and pray to God to give my best. After every game, I refresh and reflect on how I played.
Which goal is your best so far?
The goal I will pick as my best was the one I scored while playing for the Flamingoes against South Africa during the qualifiers for the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2010. It was a volley from about 40 metres away from goal.
Who are the toughest players you have played against?
They are Yinka Kudiasi and Rita Nwadike. Kudiasi was Nigeria’s best defender while Nwadike was the best defensive midfielder then. The two of them were very strong, hard-tackling and highly experienced. Both were tough to play against. They used to kick me so hard but I knew they wanted me to be a better player because I was small then. But in 2007 I played with Nwadike in Rivers Angels and in 2008, I was with Kudiasi at Pelican Stars.
Sports people usually have charity foundations where they contribute to help the society. Are you thinking of doing that too?
Yes. My name is Charity, so I should be a charitable person. Giving back is what I love doing. Whenever I come back to Nigeria, I normally go to a charity home every weekend and give food items and some cash.
Lots of Nigerian female footballers have physique like men. How have you been able to keep your good looks as a female playing football?
(Laughs) Don’t I look like a boy? Well, I will say it is because of my nature. But I believe it is how one trains his or her body to be, that’s how it will be. How I take care of my skin is not anyway different from the way other girls do. But my looks are natural because I don’t use expensive creams or soap.
Are you saying you don’t like to look masculine?
It’s not good for a woman to look like a man just because you are a footballer. A female footballer must always make sure that she does everything possible to keep her shape and physique as a woman. For me, even though I play football, I want to look good and sexy.
What part of your body do you like most and why?
I love my physique so much because my entire body gives me the opportunity to always express myself the way I want to.
How do you cope with advances from guys?
Honestly, it hasn’t been easy. But it’s easier for me now because I have a boyfriend and I don’t like to cheat on my man.
Who are you attracted to: Nigerian or white guys?
Of course I’m attracted to Nigerian guys, they are more romantic and very neat too.
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