Former Super Falcons captain, Desire Oparanozie, who retired from football has explained why she walked away from the round leather game at 29.
Oparanozie who captained Nigeria at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup stated in an interview with Punch newspaper that she always planned to leave when the ovation is loudest.
She however said that she isn’t surprised that some of her fans were shocked by the news of her retirement.
She said : “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.
“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”.
The ex-player spoke on the need to improve the pay of female players and why it is important to invest in women’s football.
“I am still with the same passion. I have always been an advocate of women’s football, the right of women in sports generally and I am still going to lend my voice in any capacity that I can and do whatever I need to do.
“I’ve always been the biggest advocate when it comes to equal pay for women and the gender disparity is not something we want. FIFA is trying their best but it is still there and we have a lot of work to do. We need to work hard and twice as we’ve been, it is a process but we are getting there and I know things will get better”, she told the paper.