In an exclusive chat with Soccernet.ng, Super Falcons star Oluwatosin Demehin has unveiled a surprising twist in her football journey, revealing her transformation from an attacking dynamo to a rock-solid defender.
Demehin’s evolution on the pitch, inspired by Barcelona legend Carlos Puyol, has been remarkable.
At the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Demehin was one of Nigeria’s best performers, forming an impervious partnership with veteran Osinachi Ohale. This remarkable duo left some of the world’s best attackers thwarted in their efforts.
Demehin, appearing at her first-ever senior tournament, played an instrumental role in the Falcons’ stellar defensive record, which included three clean sheets against formidable opponents: Olympic champions Canada, debutants Ireland, and European champions England (in regulation time).
What makes Demehin’s journey even more intriguing is that she did not begin her career as a defender.
Just a couple of years ago, she was a promising attacker with a knack for exciting play. Her early football education unfolded at the Pepsi Football Academy and later at the Victory Queens Football Academy, where her lightning-quick skills as a forward started to shine.
Sunshine Queens soon recognized her attacking talents and took her to Akure. But it was their coach, Wemimo Matthew, who saw beyond her attacking flair. Convinced that Demehin could excel as a center-back, coach Matthew initiated her transformation into a defender.
This pivotal decision marked the beginning of an exciting journey that led Demehin to captain the Falconets at the U20 Women’s World Cup last year and excel on the grandest stage of women’s football this month.
In her own words, Demehin recalled her transition: “I was an attacker before joining Sunshine Queens. So when I got to Sunshine Queens, the head coach of the team, coach Wemimo Matthew, converted me from being an attacker to a center-back, and ever since then, my career has been blossoming.”
However, the transformation was not just about changing positions. Demehin found her inspiration in one of the football world’s finest-ever defenders, Barcelona’s Carlos Puyol.
Born in 2001, Demehin was just 12 when Puyol led Barcelona to the last of his six La Liga titles in 2013. Nevertheless, the legendary Spaniard left an indelible mark on the young Nigerian’s football aspirations.
“Carlos Puyol, ex-Barcelona defender and captain, was the one that inspired my football career. He was my role model then when he was still actively playing,” Demehin told Soccernet.ng.
Since making her Super Falcons debut in 2022, Demehin has earned nine caps for the Nigerian women’s national team.