President of the Association of International Sports Journalists in Africa Mitchell Obi has picked former Super Falcons striker Perpetua Nkwocha as the best-ever female footballer Nigeria has produced.
Nkwocha, who retired in 2015, was named African Footballer of the Year four times (in 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2011) and also helped Nigeria win five Africa Women’s Cup of Nations titles in her illustrious career that spanned 16 years with the national team.
A veteran of four FIFA Women’s World Cups, Nkwocha scored four goals in the final as Nigeria thrashed Cameroon 5-0 to lift the 4th edition on the Africa Women Championships in South Africa, emerging the tournament’s top scorer with 9 goals. The former Sunnana SK of Sweden star was also the highest goalscorer of the competition in 2006 and 2010 with seven and eleven strikes respectively.
In an interview with www.busybuddiesng.com, the ace sports journalist described Nkwocha as a ‘quintessential’ footballer, who had virtually every good quality at her disposal.
“Perpetua (Nkwocha) is the answer to our Jay Jay (Austin Okocha). She tried with the men, she used to practice with the men. You can’t take it away from Perpetua Nkwocha,” Obi said when asked who the best-ever Nigerian female footballer is. “She traversed two generations of women’s football, and that is her strength.
“How many times African Player of the Year? Four times. She is the quintessential Nigerian footballer. She has the strength, she has the speed when she wants to apply the speed, and she has the unyielding presence that makes her stubborn with the ball. Then, she understands team spirit and she is humble.
“She is a player that had all the mix. Her biggest underpinning is that she was not charismatic.”
The 44-year-old Nkwocha, who is now a coach, was capped 99 times by Nigeria, scoring an impressive 80 goals.