Few things are as treasured by professional football players as the rare privilege of belonging to that special group of people who go on to earn a hundred caps for their country.
Indeed, one would imagine that any player who gets to ninety-nine caps would be impatient to cross the threshold into the rarefied company of international centurions.
But not for legendary former Super Falcons goalkeeper Precious Dede who professes no regrets or disappointment at finishing her international career one short of a century of caps.
The 39-year-old Dede who recently revealed her harrowing experience of sexual abuse at the start of her career in an exclusive chat with busybuddiesng.com said she made a conscious decision to walk away from the national team while she “was still at my peak”.
Dede said despite being on ninety-nine caps, she wasn’t tempted to go beyond her target of playing not more than fifteen years for the Super Falcons and risk being dumped unceremoniously.
“I gave myself fifteen years [to play with the Super Falcons],” the former Delta Queens and Arna-Bjørnar of Norway goalkeeper told busybuddiesng.com.
“Making it [a] hundred [caps] will be like taking another one to three years again with the national team because I ended in 2015.”
“I joined the Super Falcons in 2000. I looked at myself twenty years then; 15 years and I was 35.
“I wanted to end when I was still at my peak; I wanted to leave football, I didn’t want football to leave me. I didn’t want to force myself playing football,” she said.
Precious Dede enjoyed an illustrious and highly successful international career with the Super Falcons and appeared in four FIFA Women’s World Cup for Nigeria in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015.
She appeared at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympics as well as in four Women’s Africa Cup Nations winning the title twice in 2010 and 2014.