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AFRICA’S GREATEST WOMAN FOOTBALLER: Perpetual Nkwocha Deserves Special Honor

Perpetual Nkwocha Celebrates

 In the early 80s, when African women hadn’t woken up  to the game, Perpetual Nkwocha was already playing football on the streets of Lagos as a kid, rubbing shoulders with boys of  her peer group. It was a game meant for boys, but Nkwocha never saw herself as a girl. She was what I may call ‘Tom boy’ and she loved the game of football with a passion. Being shuffled and tackled hard by the boys, she began to develop great football skills and game intelligence.  Several years after, Nkwocha has turned out to be Africa’s greatest woman footballer of all time.

At the peak of her career in 2004, Nkwocha became the only African woman to be ever listed in FIFA – XI – bringing the continent’s women football to reckoning for the first time. In that same year, she set a record, scoring 9 goals in African Women Football Championship. She won both the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Highest Goal Scorer (HGS) award at the championship.

No one who saw that game will ever forget how Nkwocha stunned everyone, scoring 4 goals against Cameroon. It was such an extra-ordinary performance that even caught the interest of the Swedish team – Damailsvenskn club Sunnana SK. Then, she became the first African woman footballer to sign a real professional contract worth over $500, 000.

Many football analysts has described Nkwocha as possessing the combined skills of Austin Jay-jay Okocha and the ball intelligence of Nwankwo Kanu, two of Nigeria’s great football stars. She is one player Super Falcons found so difficult to let go. In spite of her desire to retire, she was often called back to duty again and again.

Nkwocha’s national team career spanned for over a decade and half. She played in Africa women championship from 1999 – 2012; played in FIFA World Cup 2000, 2004 and 2008. She also played at the Olympics in 2003 and 2997. Nkwocha cap 32 times for Falcons and scored 28 goals. She also cap 54 times for her Swedish team and scored 32 goals.

Nkwocha won Africa Women footballer of the year 4 times in 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2011. She also won MVP award in CAF’s African women championship in 2002, 2004 and 2006. She is indeed the most decorated woman footballer in Africa.

Nkwocha deserves to be awarded Nigeria’s highest honor for her unrivaled service and promotion of the national brand. This may translate to financial benefits, a monthly life time pension, now that she is retiring. Perpetual Nkwocha is a true African Ambassador. She should also be included in Africa Hall of fame for great achievers.

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