Perpetua Nkwocha (Nigeria)
Born: 3 Jan 1976, Amankwu Umuhu, Imo State, Nigeria
99 international caps, 80 goals
Nigeria have long been queens of women’s football in Africa, and it seemed Perpetua Nkwocha was always front and centre whenever the Super Falcons were flying high. Across four FIFA Women’s World Cup™ campaigns and three Olympic Football Tournaments, Nkwocha was a consistent driving force.
A lively all-action player with a mesmerising dribble and turn of pace, Nkwocha always had an eye for goal. Primarily an attacking midfielder, Nkwocha scored Nigeria’s late winner in a memorable 1-0 victory over Canada at the 2011 Women’s World Cup, the nation’s first on the world’s premier stage for 12 years.
Nkwocha shone at her brightest at continental level. Her CV includes five CAF Women's Africa Cup of Nation titles and three top goalscorer awards. Her four-goal haul against Cameroon in the 2004 final is unlikely to ever be bettered.
Little wonder that Nigeria’s latest starlet Asisat Oshoala described Nkwocha as her role-model: “I have tried to emulate her style of play, but it is not only on the field that I have learned from her, it's also off the pitch. I look at her character and see that it is something that young people can aspire to.”
Nkowcha has spent the past decade living in Sweden where she coaches, and even referees. Nkwocha is not lost to her home country, however, and was assistant coach as the Super Falcons retained their continental crown at the 2016 African Championship.
- Five CAF Women's Africa Cup of Nations wins (2002, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2014)
- Four-time African Women’s Player of the Year (2004, 2005, 2010 and 2011)
- Three-time top goalscorer CAF Women's Africa Cup of Nations (2004, 2006 and 2010)
“My personal highlight was scoring that goal against Canada,” Nkwocha told FIFA.com. “I was so happy because I was starting to think it wouldn’t happen.
“When I first went to the World Cup, we felt we had to avoid losing 6-0 or something like that. We took little pleasures in being competitive. Over time we are learning and going up. Now we have a lot of players based abroad and can bring that experience.
“Anyone representing his or her country feels like they are representing all of Africa, and I was the same. African football is growing now and we are learning a lot. One day Africa will rule the world and win the World Cup or Olympics.”