Breaking into the world kof football is often tough for African’s girls. Perpetual Nkwocha, 38, was beaten by her father in an attempt to stop her playing the game. But the Nigerian stuck to her guns and ultimately fond a new home in Sweden.
The town of Skellefltea in Northern Sweden couldn’t be more different to my Nigeria hometown. The sun hovers over the horizon for no more than an hour a day in December, and yet in the summer it simply never gets dark.
The Archic Circle is virtually on our doorstep and during kthe window period, we only ever train in an indoor hall, even though we haven’t had all that such snow recently. I’ll admit that I do sometimes see the advantages of global warming.
I’ve been living in Sweden for seven years now and I can sasfelty say that moving here was a huge turning point in my career, opening the door to a new life and financial independence. My salary amounts to approximately 4,000 euro per month, a quarter of which goes to the Swedish tax office.
But with my club taking care of my board and lodgings, I am able to send a considerable part o f my income back home to support my family, my parents, my five brothers and my two sisters.
They live a small place called Umuhu. I really appreciate the reliability and the sense of order here in Sweden That’s also in stark contrast to Nigeria, where many promises are made but very few are kept.
Football is almost revered like a religion in Nigeria, at least, the men’s game is.
Breaking into the world of sport is difficult for African girls and women at the outset my father refused to accept that I was outin the street with boys, running around after a football and forbade me from playing the game. But I didn’t let that stop me, even if it did always earn me beating.
The switch to Sweden came abound thanks to an American agent in Ghana.
A move to Malmo was initially on the board but the club lacked the financial means to complete the deal upon my arrival.
Two weeks later, an offer came through from Sunana SK in Skelleytea and so I moved there instead.
Football has broadened my horizon. My talent was sported in primary school and carefully nurtured in comprehensive school. I was then given the chance to prove myself at Nigerian Club River.
The highlights of my career were without doubt when I represented the Nigerian national team at the FIFA World Cup finals in 2003 and 2007 as well as the Olympics in 2010, 2004 and 2008.
At the age of 38, I am in the twilight of my career. At this point, I really don’t know whether I have a chance of going to the 2015 world cup with Nigeria. But two things are for sure. I want to remain in Europe and continue to work in football. Because this sport means everything to me.