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Nkwocha sets retirement date


04/09/2008

One of Africa's top female footballers, Perpetua Nkwocha plans to end her playing career in two years time. Nigeria's inspirational captain has enjoyed a distinguished career, winning the African Women's Championship multiple times.

But Nkwocha, African Female Footballer of the Year in 2004 and 2005, says her retirement will not mark the end of her involvement in football. "My dream is to become a coach. I don't want to quit football, because I love football and I love being in sport," the prolific striker told BBC Sport.
"I just need to find somewhere to do a coaching course."

Probably the biggest highlight of her career was scoring four goals for the Super Falcons against Cameroon in the 2004 African Women's Championship final.

Nkwocha was named player of the tournament and was the competition's top scorer with nine goals.
She repeated the latter feat in the 2006 edition, where she topped the scoring charts with seven goals.
But the real highlight of career would be if Nigeria could reach new heights at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in August.

"This will be my last Olympics so I have to do my best," Nkwocha, who plays her club football for Sunana SK in the Swedish Premier League, said. "My dream is to be among the four best teams in the world. And I believe my dream will come true this time."

Even though the Super Falcons have been dominant in Africa, they have struggled to make an impact on the world scene. But Nigeria's improved performances at last year's World Cup encourage Nkwocha to believe that her dream will be achieved before she quits the game.

"In the past USA have beaten us 5-0 or 8-0, but now they only beat us 1-0. It's a good improvement," she said. "We really played well against the USA and within ourselves, we've said that next time we play USA, we will beat them. It won't be an easy game for them."

But the Olympics will be a tough prospect. Nigeria are in the proverbial group of death with World Cup Champions, Germany, World Cup and Olympic runners-up, Brazil and North Korea.

However, Nkwocha says the group holds no fears for her and her team-mates. "I'm not afraid, neither are my colleagues," she said defiantly. "We are used to being in the toughest groups at the World Cup.

"We are just sending a message to the other teams to prepare themselves because they are coming to meet some lions. We are coming out to destroy."

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