Nigerian born, Eniola Aluko was the star player today as she helped her club,Chelsea Ladies win their first ever major trophy, after beating Notts County 1- nil, in the first Women’s FA Cup final, ever to be played at the Wembley Stadium.
Speaking after her player-of-the-match performance in the Women’s FA Cup final on Saturday, Aluko said: “The overwhelming emotion right now is just relief. It has been a long time coming.”
Chelsea came agonisingly close to winning the FA WSL 1 last season before being pipped by Liverpool on the final day, but Aluko believes their victory at Wembley proves they can cope with the pressure of the big occasion.
“This is history in the making,” Aluko added. “I couldn’t be more proud of this group of players.”
The 28-year-old striker endured a disappointing World Cup earlier this summer, failing to score in three appearances after netting 13 times in qualifying, but she was at the heart of Chelsea’s FA Cup triumph, providing the assist for Ji So-Yun’s winning goal.
Aluko, who is now a three-time FA Cup winner having lifted it in 2005 and 2012 with Charlton and Birmingham respectively, also praised the influence of the Chelsea manager: “Emma Hayes and her staff work so hard and inspire us each and every day.”
Hayes, who won the trophy twice while assistant manager at Arsenal, said: “We work hard as coaches for days like today.
“I could not ask to be part of a better organisation or to have better staff. They have worked their socks off for three and a half years.”
The 38-year-old added: “We have a group of players that commit to everything we do. They were never going to be on the losing team today.
“I knew that from the opening whistle. I’m incredibly proud of them. I actually enjoyed every minute of it.”
Born by Nigerian parents, Eniola moved with her family to Birmingham, England when she was a year old. Eniola is the elder sister to Sone Aluko, Nigerian Super Eagle/Hull City Fc Star. She studied Law at Brunel University, where she graduated with a First class degree in 2008; was the leading scorer in England’s World Cup qualifying campaign, the Chelsea striker hitting 13 goals, helping England win their group with a 100 per cent record from their 10 games to reach Canada.