One of the newcomers in this season’s BOV Women’s League is Christabel Oduro.
A 27-year-old forward with an impressive track record, having represented Canada both at youth and senior level, has joined the ranks of champions Birkirkara, adding to the quality that the Stripes already boast in their squad.
Oduro made an immediate impact in Malta, breaking the duck with a hat-trick in last week’s fixture against Raiders Għargħur as Birkirkara chalked up a 12-0 victory.
Capped by the Canadian national team, Oduro brings with her a lot of experience as Birkirkara seek more domestic triumphs.
“The transfer was done in just a few days, after I was in touch with Birkirkara in late September and immediately accepting to travel over to Malta,” Oduro told the Times of Malta.
“While Malta is a beautiful country with a lot of interesting sights, I was tempted by Champions League football making it easier to take this decision.
“Training and playing for a top team who wants to win every competition, while gaining fitness was a big plus for me.”
Oduro, who started her football career in Canada with several spells in the now dysfunctional W-League, has heaped praise on the club who welcomed her immediately, underlining also the fact that the players speak English so that makes her feel comfortable.
“I last played competitively in October 2019, at Kalmar in Sweden, and after that I just kept myself in shape.
“So, although coming to Malta and playing my first match after just four days of training may not have been that easy, I am integrating very quickly in this team,” Oduro pointed out.
This week, Oduro will have her first taste of the rivalry that Birkirkara have with title contenders Mġarr United in the highlight clash of Matchday 4.
“I already got a taste of a Maltese rivalry as we faced Swieqi United in our season opener,” Oduro explained.
“I am expecting a physical and aggressive game, in particular because we are rivals so that will add more to the element of excitement in it.”
Next week, Birkirkara will be travelling to Romania as they face Olimpia Cluj in the first qualifying round of this season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Formerly of Fortuna Hjorring and Herforder SV, Oduro has already appeared in this competition, having featured with Israeli side Ramat HaSharon in the 2016-17 campaign where they registered two wins over RFS and Kharkiv and a 1-0 loss to Sarajevo.
This season’s format of the Women’s Champions League will be unique as due to the coronavirus pandemic, UEFA scrapped the traditional mini qualifications and replaced them with two qualifying rounds of single-leg ties.
“This competition is the pinnacle of Birkirkara’s season because you are representing your country in such a competition,” Oduro underlined.
“This year’s format will be similar to the classic college football format in North America, where you need to be sharp for 90 minutes, win and advance, lose and go home.”
Asked about the difference between American and European football, Oduro pointed out that while North Americans, in particular the United States, are still excellent in the women’s game, European countries have more tactical know-how in the game.
“In North America there is a different culture because our league, such as the NCAA tournaments, have congested fixtures and that means that we do not have time for tactics, therefore we focus more on reaching our fitness peak,” she said.
“In Europe, the football leagues have a different format and traditionally, they are more tactically-orientated so for an American to get into Europe, it needs more than just a top-notch physical performance to adapt.”
PLAYING TODAY – 20.30
Birkirkara vs Mġarr United
Raiders Għargħur vs Kirkop
TOMORROW – 20.30
Mtarfa vs Swieqi United
MD4 bye: Mosta.