Onome Ebi, a Nigerian football defender, has made history by becoming the first African footballer, male or female, to play 5 FIFA world cup tournaments. She has played for many different teams over the years and currently plays for Chinese second division side Henan Huishang, where she signed in 2018. She is also a member of the Nigerian national team, Super Falcons as is currently playing for Nigeria in the women's world cup.
“When I was five, I would say I just loved playing and the guys in my compound would always want to have me around them,” she said in her Instagram video. “At 10, I started seeing a kind of seriousness in the game because then I play for my school team and we always have this inter-house sports in our school and we have different sports.
“When I was 15, I started seeing more seriousness in the game because I was the captain of the team in my secondary school and I think then, it was getting really interesting and serious because then we have more female who wanted to play football."
“When I was 20, I finished secondary school, and immediately after I got a call from a professional team in my country."
In an interview with Punch, Ebi is quoted saying, "I did not plan to become a footballer and like I always say, football has always been a part of me. I even jokingly say that football has been a part of me since I was in my mother’s womb. I would not say that I decided to play football for a particular reason. I just found myself on the football pitch playing the sport. I started when I was a very young girl, so I cannot say that there is a particular reason I decided to become a footballer."
36-year-old Ebi, who has been part of the Super Falcons since making her debut in 2003, previously played at the 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups. She is the 2018 Nigerian footballer of the year and four-time winner of the African Women's Cup of Nations. She believes playing in France will complete her football story. "To play in five World Cups will feel like I've achieved everything there is in football," Ebi told BBC Sport.
Ebi has paved ways for many other footballers and is making history as she goes.
Header Image Credit: Twitter