The most capped player in the world of soccer is Kristine Lilly of the USA women's national team. At 39 years old she has 352 international caps to her name and is still active at both club and international level. The average age of the USA women's national team is 30.
Kristine Lilly is a mother and juggles her maternal duties with her soccer career aptly well with distinction and there are others like her out there doing same.
Perpetua Nkwocha is 34 years old,a powerhouse in African women's soccer and is still making the headlines with the countless goals she scores at club and international level. Her exploits at the just ended African Women's Championships attests to the fact that age is nothing but a number.
Players are berated for being "too old",they are castigated by fans and coaches alike for being too old and so necessitating their early retirement much to the detriment of the nations they play for. A recent article i read after the lackluster performance of the Black Queens reported of a coach blaming the horrid performance on the old players. I can only shake my head in disbelief !
Such pronouncements has robbed Africa of very matured,experienced and intelligent players over the years,players who could have added much value to their teams at international competitions. I have always said this, for a player of today to reach the level of the Adjoa Bayors,Lydia Ankrahs,Elizabeth Baidus,Nkwochas and Omagbemis of yore,it will take decades of hard work and miracles.
Why then are the administrators and coaches perpetuating the trend of forced retirement directly and indirectly ?
It is true both sexes play the same sport however let's not lose sight of the fact that the shelf life of a female soccer player and her development in the game of soccer can not be likened to a male soccer player's shelf life.There is the need for matured and talented female players on the international scene where their experience is needed in order for their younger colleagues to learn from them as they play alongside them.
It behoves all players to take absolute care of their bodies so as to lengthen their playing days. Age is just a number and where there is a sound mind in a sound body much can be achieved regardless of one's age. We must all endeavor to support our marquee players and not label them as "old". Coaches must know their players inside out in order to know how to bring the best out of their players rather than taking the easy way out by labelling them as old players.
If Ryan Giggs,Paul Scholes,Kristine Lilly,Pepertua Nkwocha,Therese Sjogran,Jessica Landstrom,Tania,Pretinha,Brigit Prinz can all play actively in their 30's so can Ghana's stars. Age is nothing but a number if a player can still give 110% !