She grew up amid violence, witchcraft and police repression in Nigeria’s violence-ridden southern city of Jos.
Yet Nigeria’s World Cup forward Asisat Oshoala is on the brink of reaching a lifetime goal, as Liverpool hope to sign her for £6m.
Football: Asisat Oshoala creates history as Nigeria win Africa U20 title Read more
The 25-year-old may not consider herself superstitious, but it was a byproduct of the culture in Jos that played a part in encouraging her to be a footballer.
“Growing up, it was difficult. I grew up in the violence, the drugs, the youth development were a real hindrance. I didn’t have many role models. From my experiences and belief of my mother and grandmother, I started playing football in 2011 and this is why I still have a passion for it,” Oshoala said.
Jos has been rocked by violence, most notably in 1994 when over 200 schoolchildren were massacred. On other occasions riots over prices and perceived discrimination have ensued.
Last year, a report by a local NGO claimed that about 60,000 people died in ethnic violence in the state between 2000 and 2015. Religious and ethnic rivalry have also fostered further divisions and there have been periodic flare-ups of unrest.
Last week Oshoala and her club, Super Falcons, won the African Under-20 title after a nail-biting final in Niger. As Nigeria’s most popular female sports star Oshoala is more famous in her home country than in her first and second national teams.
“Her passion of the game really has shown its roots in Jos. She grew up playing there, but it is a dream come true for her and the Super Falcons,” Shakira Akogun, the Nigerian national team’s assistant coach, told the BBC last week.