Super Falcons’ forward Perpetua Nkwocha will win her 101st senior cap for Nigeria if she tastes action in Tuesday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Group D clash with the United States of America in Vancouver.
This will bring her at par with Super Eagles’ goalkeeper and skipper Vincent Enyeama, who won his 101st cap in the 2-0 defeat of Chad in Saturday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Kaduna.
The elegant striker, who won her first cap for Nigeria in a friendly with Ghana’s Black Queens in Lagos in May 1999, won her 100th cap when she came in for Desire Oparanozie against Australia in Winnipeg on Friday.
Before the 3-3 draw with Sweden in Winnipeg on Monday, June 8, Nkwocha had been one of only two Nigerians to score at the FIFA Women’s World Cup since Nkechi Egbe netted a famous equalizer against Brazil in the quarter finals of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the United States of America. That match, played in Washington, went to extra time before the Brazilians triumphed.
The Falcons notably failed to score a single goal at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals, also staged by the United States, following the sudden outbreak of SARS epidemic in designated host nation China. Cynthia Uwak scored the Falcons’ only goal at the 2007 FIFA World Cup, in a 1-1 draw with Sweden in Chengdu.
Nkwocha scored Nigeria’s only goal at the 6th FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany four years ago, netting in the 1-0 defeat of Canada in Dresden on July 5, 2011. But the Falcons failed to progress after earlier losing by the same margin to France and host Germany.
Not only did Nkwocha become Nigeria’s first woman ‘Centurion’ when she came in for Oparanozie against Australia, in a surprise 0-2 defeat, she also became the oldest player in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, at 39 years and 19 days. The previous older of the record, Meg of Brazil, was 39 years 18 days when she featured at the 1995 finals in Sweden.
In her meritorious 16-year international career, Nkwocha was also named African Woman Player of the Year on four occasions.
In Vancouver on Tuesday, Nkwocha looks to make history with the Super Falcons, at the same BJ Place venue that will host the Women’s World Cup final match on July 5. She will also be hoping to work wonders with the Falcons, not only to accomplish a first –ever defeat of the USA at the Women’s World Cup, but also to sail into the knock –out stage for the first time since 1999, and for only the second time ever.