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Nigerian Football Icon Desire Oparanozie Bids Farewell to the Pitch at 29

Nigerian Football Icon Desire Oparanozie Bids Farewell to the Pitch at 29

Desire Oparanozie, the former captain of Nigeria’s Super Falcons, has officially called time on her illustrious professional football career at the age of 29. In a heartfelt announcement shared on her X account (formerly Twitter), Oparanozie expressed her gratitude to her fans, family, and friends for their unwavering support throughout her journey.

The prolific striker, who played a vital role in the Super Falcons’ recent FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign that reached the second round, stated, “It’s time to take a bow, as I believe there’s no better time than now. I’m officially announcing my retirement from professional football for both club and country.”

She went on to acknowledge the teams, coaches, teammates, and opponents who had been part of her incredible football odyssey, concluding with a heartfelt thanks to the sport itself and her beloved Nigeria.

Oparanozie’s final match for the Falcons was a memorable one, though not in the way she had hoped, as she missed a crucial penalty during a shootout against England in the 2023 World Cup round of 16. The match ended in a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes of play, with England prevailing 4-2 in the penalty shootout.

Desire Oparanozie’s journey with the Nigerian national team began in 2010, and she quickly became an integral part of the squad, making her fourth World Cup appearance in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand.

Her contributions to Nigerian football extend beyond the international stage, as she was part of the Super Falcons’ victories in the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2018.

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Oparanozie’s club career took her to various countries, including Russia, China, and France. She started at Bayelsa Queens in Nigeria’s Women’s Championship and later joined Delta Queens. She had stints with clubs like Rossiyanka, VfL Wolfsburg, Ataşehir Belediyespor, Guingamp, and Dijon FCO before joining Wuhan Jianghan University in the Chinese Women’s Super League for the 2022 season.

While the exact reason for her early retirement remains undisclosed, it’s speculated that she might be considering starting a family. This highlights a unique challenge for women in football, as the physical demands and potential risks make it difficult to continue playing professionally during pregnancy. Oparanozie’s retirement marks the end of a remarkable era for her and her contributions to the Super Falcons.

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