"When I was with CI Angels, I was invited to the Super Falcons. I didn't even honour the call-up then because I was scared and felt I was too young," Maryann Ezenagu opened up to CAFOnline.com on rejecting the call to Nigeria's senior team in April 2013.
This came in the build-up to Nigeria's friendly with Japan just a few days after the unheralded young sensation starred as CI Angels forced Rivers Angels to a 2-2 draw in a 2013 Nigerian Women's Premier League encounter in Asaba.
Born in Asaba to Igbo parents of South-East state Anambra, Ezenagu, who is the last born in the family of nine, endured regular torture from her father during her early teenage years in resolving to realise her dreams through the sport.
"I started playing while in secondary school (Asaba Girls Grammar School) then. My dad didn't want me to play football because he felt I was doing what only boys should do as a girl. He often beat me anytime I come back home from playing then," she narrated.
"While training with the boys, a coach took me to CI Angels after I had finished my secondary school which was when my dad finally allowed me to play. I think he was concerned about my education and while at Delta Queens, I continued at Delta Polytechnic. Now, my dad has been supportive and always calls me to check up on me."