Desire Oparanozie, the former captain of the Super Falcons, has officially announced her retirement from professional football at the age of 29. The announcement came through her social media accounts, where she expressed her gratitude to fans, family, friends, coaches, teammates, and opponents for their support throughout her football career.
In her social media post, Oparanozie stated, “To my fans, family, and friends, thank you for the show of love and support over the years. 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 also expressed her appreciation for all the coaches who guided her, the players she had the privilege to play with and against, and the fans who made her football career a memorable journey. She concluded her retirement announcement with a heartfelt thank you to football and Nigeria.
During her 13-year career, Oparanozie played for nine different clubs, starting with Bayelsa Queens in 2010 and including stints in Turkey, Russia, Germany, France, and China. She made a significant impact in her 35 appearances for the Super Falcons, scoring 22 goals and representing Nigeria in four FIFA Women’s World Cups (2011, 2015, 2019, and 2023).
Oparanozie was named the captain of the Nigerian national team in April 2019, and she used her position to advocate for equal pay in Nigerian football, highlighting the disparity in bonuses between the women’s and men’s teams. She was also a key player in Nigeria’s successes in the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) and claimed numerous individual awards and recognitions during her career.
Her last international match was during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia, where Nigeria faced England in the Round of 16. Oparanozie came on as a substitute but missed her spot kick during the penalty shootout.
Desire Oparanozie’s retirement marks the end of a remarkable career in women’s football, and she will be remembered for her contributions to the sport and her advocacy for gender equality in Nigerian football.