Nigeria’s Francisca Ordega has scored four goals in helping her side reach the last eight of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012, including a hat-trick against Italy in the final match in Group B. Far from resting on her laurels, however, the in-form forward is still going over a chance she spurned against the Italians.
“I don’t know how I could have missed it,” she asks herself in the company of FIFA.com. “If five chances come my way, I should do my very best to take all of them.”
It might sound as if the Nigerian is being too hard on herself, but given the objectives she has set, she has no option but to be demanding.
The first of those targets was to reach the second round at Japan 2012, one Nigeria have achieved thanks in no small part to Ordega’s finishing.
“When you’re a striker you have days when you feel great and you sense that every ball you touch is going to turn to gold,” she said after her performance against Italy, which ensured Nigeria top spot in the section and a quarter-final date with Mexico. “I’ve been dreaming of this moment. I’ve been working hard for it and the dream has now become a reality.”
The next objective is to combine personal success with a team triumph. Losing finalists at Germany 2010, the Falconets are determined to go one step further this time around, none more so than the Rivers Angels striker, who was not on duty in Germany two years ago but has already endured her fair share of disappointments in her young career.
On the losing side in the last eight at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad & Tobago 2010, she also formed part of the Nigeria squad that exited the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™ at the group stage, bitter experiences that she hopes to use to guide her less seasoned team-mates to the top.
“I’ve been trying to encourage them all the way but the best thing you can do is to lead by example,” said Ordega, an Arsenal fan who draws her inspiration from Thierry Henry, Fernando Torres and Abby Wambach. “I give my very best because youngsters look up to the more experienced players and try to follow in their footsteps.”
The trail Ordega is blazing seems to be an easy one for her colleagues to follow, never more so than when she launches herself into one of the celebratory dances that follow her goals, an art she was able to perfect against the Italians: “That dance isn’t rehearsed at all. It’s just an instinctive thing that turned out that way,” she explained with a burst of laughter. “It’s a Nigerian dance called Azonto and I do it with my friends.”
From Tokyo to Hollywood
Dancing and goalscoring are not Ordega’s only talents. As the multi-faceted star explained, her love of the limelight could well take her career in a different direction. “My dream is to be an actress,” she said in deadly earnest. “As soon as I hang up my boots I hope to make it in acting. I’m going to start taking classes this year, after the World Cup.”
Right now, though, Ordega is in no mood to rush things, content as she is to take each objective as it comes. “I need to achieve things one at a time and not get ahead of myself,” she said before announcing, with a firm sense of conviction in her voice: “I think we can lift the trophy. After that I can start thinking about something new.”
When asked if she had a preference for being a successful actress or the best striker in the world, her answer was immediate: “Why choose between the two? Best striker one day, best actress the next.”
Whatever the future holds for Francisca Ordega, should her story ever make it on to the silver screen, there is no question who would be playing the starring role.