Winning WAFCON 2010 my biggest moment – Oparanozie

By Daily Sports Nigeria on November 3, 2023

Former Super Falcons captain, Desire Oparanozie, who retired from football recently, talks about her most memorable moment playing for Nigeria, plans on retirement, her best World Cup outing and more, in this interview with EBENEZER BAJELA

Your retirement came as a big surprise with many saying you left the game too early. Do you agree?

I understand their concern because there is this trend that your have to play football till the body is tired and you are no longer able to play. Not that I wanted to change that narrative but my decision was more of a personal thing and I have always known that I was going to leave the stage when I did because I didn’t want to play football until I could no longer play.

I want to dedicate my time in life to other things rather than stay on the pitch for a very long time. I understand their sentiments and worries, but I want to tell them not to worry because I am still going to be around sports and football but just that it is not going to be on the pitch but off it. So, I can say that it’s all good.

Retiring at 29 is not something we get to see too often…

(Cuts in) I know I left the game early and I have not really had the opportunity to apologise to my fans. It is something that is definitely going to happen whether it is now or in the future and like I said, it has always been my intention to do so at the right time. But a lot of people are not happy that I left the game too early and I sincerely want to apologise to them. I appreciate the love they’ve shown me but it just have to happen at the moment.

What’s your Falcons most special moment?

My first WAFCON trophy in 2010 was the most special moment. I was very young then and winning the WAFCON at that young age meant a lot to me and I cherish it dearly.

What were your biggest challenges playing for Nigeria?

A lot of countries come at us because we are the team to beat because of our success and what we’ve achieved. Whenever we are coming up against these countries they want to put in their best and that is a big challenge for us because a lot is expected from us. We represent Africa at the world stage and people expect us to do well and that is also a big weight on us but often time we try to do our best but it is not always easy.

Will you say things are different now for female athletes compared to your era?

Things are looking very well for the girl-child now compared to the past because then it was not easy. When you go out to play football and you come home you get punished. My mum was usually concerned for me because she didn’t want me to get injured and they tried as much as they could to protect me, but it wasn’t until I left home that I started football fully and they saw me on TV and they believed in me. We are happy that now a lot of parents are allowing their girl-child to play football and it shows we are heading in the right direction.

Which of the four World Cups you attended is your best?

The 2019 World Cup was the best because firstly I was the captain of the team and secondly the drama we had to go through to qualify for the round of 16. There was a lot of permutations and checking other countries results. It was so tiring but also the best.




Source Punch Ng

Posted November 3, 2023


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