Updated: Jan 18
Sensational and deadly Super Falcons striker Rafiat Sule - who already has a hattrick of assists in Italian football for Serie A side Pink Sport Bari - believes that Nigeria can indeed win the greatest prize in women's football, the Fifa World Cup.
Speaking leisurely from her base in Europe, having swapped Bayelsa in Nigeria for Bari in Italy in August 2020, the 20 year old flamboyant forward touched on a number of topics including life in Italy and her immediate ambitions.
"With intense preparations and adequate number of friendly matches, Nigeria can definitely be the first African country to win the women's world cup," said Rafiat enthusiastically. "Obviously if given the chance, I can score one of the goals that will bring greatness to my country."
Even at a tender age of 20, Rafiat was colossal in the Nigeria Women Premier League where she banged a whooping 59 goals (according to Wikipedia) in about 61 games for Bayelsa Queens and Rivers Angels between 2015 and 2019.
She won back to back highest goals scorer awards in the league in 2015 and 2016.
Quite magnanimously, Rafiat places more emphasis on providing assists and overall team work rather than scoring goals.
"There is value and dignity in laying it on the plate for your colleagues to find the back of the net," said Rafiat. "I am not a selfish striker. Whether I score or not, it does not matter much. What matters is collective responsibility, team effort and ultimately, success and trophies."
Which would perhaps explain why Rafiat's standout inputs thus far since joining Pink Sport Bari are her 3 assists in about 10 games across all competitions.
Asked which meant more to her, she said: "my assist in the Coppa Italia Women's competition game against Juventus was wonderful. Although we lost 4:1, it was a key milestone for me to provide an assist against a team with a lot of history and pedigree like Juventus."
Currently, Pink Sport Bari are in relegation waters in the league. Rafiat is hoping to play her part in helping her team stay up. Thereafter, she has her sights set on the English Women's Premier League.
"I am a Liverpool supporter. I hope to play in England someday. I hope my performances and achievements in Italy will help propel me to the next level.
In England, they play fast paced direct and technical style of football, I believe that would suit me because of my emphasis on speed, football intelligence and wing play."
Looking into the future with the Super Falcons, Rafiat hopes to be one of the mainstays of the team's strike force as Nigeria prepares to reassert herself in African and world women's football.
She already has 3 goals for the national team with her best coming against Mali at the 2019 Wafu Cup of Nations.
"That goal was memorable because we wanted maximum 9 points from the group phase having already amassed 6 points from our first 2 Matches. I was brought in as a second half substitute and I scored the first goal of the match before Uche Kanu made it 2 goals to nothing."
The Super Falcons won that tournament.
The dimunitive Rafiat - who is currently acclimatising to life in Italy and getting used to their food, amongst other things - has her sights set on achieving great things for club and country.
And from the way she is applying herself and how focused she is, the versatile forward is surely on the right path.
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