3rd October, 2012
Although she still looks very youthful, the four-time African Women’s Footballer of The Year, Perpetua Nkwocha is never shy to reveal that she is actually 36-years-old! In this interview with allsports.com, Nkwocha said she has finalised plans to hang her boots this year, but confessed that it was a huge disappointment that she could not play at the London 2012 Olympics with the non-qualification of the Super Falcons
How do you feel for winning the African Women’s Footballer of The Year award for the fourth time?
I feel so great. The award that I won last year was the fourth time I am winning it, and I am very grateful to God for making it possible. It was another way for me being able to confirm that I am still playing well. I must have done well, since it is CAF that gave me the award, which I believe was justified by my hard work and I am convinced that I deserved it.
Why did you have a break after winning the award twice?
I think it was just because of what happened at the AWC in Equatorial Guinea. Not just me, all the players. Our performance was not just good enough. We could not win the cup, which was the first time ever we did not take the trophy, and I believe that affected my rating.
In what ways have you put back into the community that produced you?
I do not actually want to sound like I’m boasting about what I have done, but I do have a club that I am supporting in my home town, Ngwor Okpala. The team is called Perpetua Nkwocha FC. I am glad that God has made it possible for me to sponsor the club in the little way that I can. Just like I was encouraged when I was growing up, I am also trying to encourage the young ones in my village. I was there for the last Christmas holiday, and even spent a long time with them. I grew up in that village and I don’t see any reason why I should not stay there when I am on holiday. In fact, I don’t have any fear staying there.
What efforts are you making to ensure that your home state also gets a women’s club in the national league?
Yes, that’s a good idea. I will try all my effort to support the idea, especially now that I am about to retire. I am already taking a coaching course in Sweden and I could work actively with a female club in Imo State. That would help us change the current situation in which girls from here have to go to Calabar or Port Harcourt before they can play in the league. Imagine, Imo State is my state, but I spent like seven years in Cross River, playing for their club, Pelican Stars. I am really thinking about the need for Imo State to have its own female club and I believe that sports-loving people in this state will contribute to make it work.
Will you feature at the African Women’s Championship if Coach Kadiri Ikhana offers you an invitation?
Yes, that will be my last outing with the Super Falcons. My initial plan was to bow out with the Olympic Games in London, but we did not qualify. That’s why I have chosen the African Women’s Championship as the last competition that I will have to play for the national team before I retire.
Do you agree with the notion in some quarters that the inability of Falcons to qualify for the Olympics was a huge setback for the game in Nigeria?
Yes, I feel really sad for myself and for players that are coming up; because it will take another four years for them to get the chance of getting to that level again. I was personally hoping to end my career with the Olympics, but now I am thinking of the AWC, which is of a lower level. It’s a big blow for all of us, because the Olympics would have been another opportunity to show the world what the Falcons can do.
What is the secret of your success
I think it’s just because I train hard. It’s because of my regular training, as I concentrate fully on football, since I don’t have any other thing to do. Maybe I watch what I eat, but I have to keep training in order to be able to play, and that, I believe, has helped me keep my shape.