One of Nigeria's footballing icons, Desire Oparanozie, has decided to hang up her boots at the age of 29, drawing a close to an illustrious career that has left an indelible mark on women's football.
Oparanozie's retirement was confirmed through her social media accounts, where she expressed her gratitude to fans, family, and teammates while officially announcing her retirement from professional football for both club and country.
“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.” Desire Oparanozie announced.
“To every team and coach I have played for, to every mate l'veplayed alongside, and to every opponent I have played against, thank you all for being part of this incredible journey. Thank you football, thank you Nigeria. Desire Ugochi Oparanozie.”
Desire Oparanozie: A striker par excellence and a World Cup veteran
Desire Oparanozie's journey in football began in 2010 when she made her debut for the Super Falcons. Her talent quickly shone through, and she established herself as one of the best strikers to ever grace the Super Falcons squad.
She played a pivotal role in the Super Falcons' victories at the 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2018 Africa Women's Cup of Nations, even scoring in the finals of two editions and claiming the Golden Boot in 2014.
Oparanozie's international journey took her to four FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments in 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2023. She was a vital part of the squad during these campaigns, demonstrating her commitment and skill on the global stage.
A declining stature
However, in recent years, Oparanozie's prominence in the world of football has been on the decline. Her status shifted from being a top player to being on the periphery. Her club career mirrored this decline, with her most recent stint at Wuhan Jianghan University.
Oparanozie's international career also saw its share of controversies, particularly involving her relationship with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF).
Despite the challenges, she consistently demonstrated her commitment to the national team. Her retirement, at such a young age, has taken many by surprise.
A shocking decision
Desire Oparanozie's retirement announcement has come as a surprise to many, given that she is only 29 years old.
Her decision marks the end of an era and leaves fans and fellow athletes reflecting on the incredible contributions she has made to Nigerian and international women's football.
As Oparanozie takes her final bow from the pitch, her legacy as a formidable striker and a symbol of inspiration to aspiring footballers remains intact. Nigeria, and indeed the world of football, bids farewell to one of its finest talents.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 week ago