To remain undaunted in the face of many obstacles is a trait that is highly pronounced in Adedeji Pamilerin Deborah, the FUTA Tigress Striker and Assistant Captain. Pamilerin has shown that she has the grit and tenacity to pursue her dream to become a professional football player.

Born amongst two brothers, Pamilerin learnt to appreciate sports especially football as she often followed her brothers to the field to watch them play. “Whenever I see a spare ball on the field, I kick it, sometimes I kick it towards the wall, and if I’m opportuned to see someone to play with, I play with them. It all started as a fun thing, gradually I developed interest in football.”

Her skill attracted the attention of her secondary school’s Director of Sport, Mr. Ojo, and She began training with the school’s male team, a period she describes as the defining moment in her career which led to her decision to become a pro footballer.

She joined the FUTA female football team  in what can be described as a fortuitous meeting between her and the head coach, who was introduced to her by Femi Peter popularly known as Phemorandum, who she met during her pre-degree program in FUTA. 

“ The coach tested my passes and ball control and was impressed by my ability. He welcomed me into the school team which is a feat no Pre-degree student from FUTA had achieved before” she said.  

When asked about her fondest moment playing for the FUTA Tigress, Pamilerin lamented about the lack of competitive matches as a result of the Tigresses being without a coach. She described the friendly match between the Tigresses and the Elizade Female team as her fondest  memory playing for FUTA. 

“ We haven’t played any competitive match because we don’t have a coach that can help us fix these matches. We have played a couple of friendly matches and my favorite was when we played against the Elizade female team in Ilara Mokin where we won 5 goals to nothing. I had a goal and assist in that match” The FUTA striker said.

The absence of a coach for the team was assuaged by the presence of Pamilerin’s personal coach, Coach Adelodun Abeeb Kehinde a.k.a Coach Pajay, who she met while training on her own in FUTA’s Sport complex. Coach Pajay was impressed by her skills and decided to become her personal trainer.

 “I didn’t formally ask him to be my coach but because of the interest he had in my development, he started training me and giving me drills to execute which has been improving my use of ball (ball work) and my first touches.” She said.

When quizzed about her major challenge as a female athlete, she spoke about the constant doubt and underestimation being thrown her way. 

“ People really underestimate female footballers and it has been a major challenge for me. Most people don’t believe that females can succeed as footballers, especially grassroot players like me. They think we just play for fun and we can’t go far. It is really demoralising and it’s my biggest challenge as a female footballer. I try my best to stay motivated and to remain confident of my abilities.”  

Pamilerin desires to play in the Higher Institution Football league (HiFL) if a female league is created before her graduation from FUTA. She believes the HiFL female league will be a great opportunity to develop female football players across Nigerian universities and help her achieve her dreams of playing professional football and earn her an invitation to join the national female football team, the Super Falcons.