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Football | Football Features

Q & A with Mercy Akide-Udoh

Nigeria football legend Mercy Akide-Udoh was our guest on live chat

She feilded questions about her new role as a Fifa Ambassador, her post-football career as a coach and her family life after a distinguished career.She will also talk about the state of the women’s game in Africa.

Mercy is one of the most respected strikers in female football and was the first ever Africa footballer of the year in 2002 and was a 1999 and 2004 Fifa world All-Star .

She represented Nigeria at the Fifa World Cup in 1995, 1999 and 2003 and the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympics.

She is the most famous female footballer ever to come out of Africa and was top scorer at the 1998 African Women’s championships ..2000 and 2002

One of the highlights of her career was leading the Superfalcons to the quarterfinals of the 1999 World Cup -- an outstanding performance earned her the nickname “Marvelous Mercy.” She was also called "merciless Mercy" for her goal-scoring prowess.

She was one of the pioneers of the short-lived Women’s league in the USA becoming the first African to play professional football when she was drafted by the San Diego Spirit.WUSA was the premier women’s league in the world at the time. She also played for the Hampton Road Piranhas winning the 2003 W-league and was top scorer and MVp even scoring the championship winning goal

Mercy is currently a coach with Beach Fc at Virginia beach,USA ,and is married to football Journalist Colin Udoh.They have two daughters

Here's now is the Q & A session:

The question and answer session has closed.

Questions and answers
Samuel Khumalo asked:
How are you Mercy...what did Christiano ronaldo say to you in zurich...I hope you are not a manchester United or Real madrid fan...what is your favourite team ?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
He didnt say much. Just a little chit chat. We just said hi, took a photograph and I wished him goodluck. My favourite team is Manchester United, sorry to disappoint you
Jide Akintunde asked:
When did you quit football.I thought you were still playing in America ?

How did you manage to keep such a physique.It''s like you could actually play with men''s football...how come you were so strong?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
I didnt quit football. i am still into football as a coach. If you mean playing. I cant play forever, and i felt it was the right time to quit and focus on other things, especially my family. On my physique, I still work out regularly and I play soccer for fun
Nnamdi Nwosu asked:
What is your role as Fifa Ambassador. ?Congratulations
Are you the only African?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Thanks, Nnamdi. There are 15 of us and I am the only African. Our role is to help serve as role models for upcoming players, and to use our image and star power to help in developing the women's game worldwide
Kemi Ojo asked:
Do you think Nigeria and Equitorial Guinea will do well at the FIFA Women''s world cup in Germany later this year
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Equatorial Guinea dont have the experience and they are in a difficult group. So I think it will be tough for them. Nigeria have a good blend of experience and young players, and if they prepare hard and study their opponents, I think they can do well
Shola Adebowale asked:
Will you encourage your two daughters to play football ?

Will they play for Nigeria or USA since they are American citizens
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
When that time comes, they will decide what sport they want to play, and which country they want to represent.
Shola Adebowale asked:
Will you encourage your two daughters to play football

Will they play for Nigeria or the USA since they are also Americans
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Shola, they will do whatever sport they want. And when the time comes, they will also choose what country they want to represent.
Tonye Williams asked:
Are you hoping to coach the Super falcons one day .What do you think of the achievements of Eucharia Uche
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Tonye, If Nigeria want me to coach the Falcons, I will. I think Eucharia has done well.
Tunde Alabi asked:
Who was your greatest inspiration
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Tunde, Rashidi Yekini was my inspiration. I always tried to score goals like him, and I believe he is one of the greatest goalscorers in the world
Stingo asked:
Is man united stil lukin 4 a long replacement of van der sa or kuszcak stands
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Stingo, I really cant answer that now, can I?
Tope Bamisaye asked:
What is the secret of your success and what is your real age,not your football age
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Tope, I dont have a football age. That is my real age. You can go to my primary school, secondary school and anywhere else to check. There is no secret to success. Just hard work and constant practice
collins asked:
who is that be side you is your fiyensey
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Ha ha ha Collins. That is Cristiano Ronaldo
Okwuchukwu Peter Uzoanakwe asked:
What do you think of zimbabwe''s bid for the world cup 2015 hosting?

do you think the Super falcons will upset the world in Germany 2011?
N.F.F.,are they doing well in Women football more than men football?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Okwuchukwu, I think it is good for an African country to bid for the World Cup. I must commend Zimbabwe for having the courage to come forward. For the Falcons, I believe if they prepare well and focus, they can do it. The NFFneed to do more for womens football. Right now, its all about the men
Peter Oyetunde asked:
How is the super falcons preparation for the World cup ?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Well, I am not in their coaching crew, so I cannot say how they are preparing right now.
Joan Ouma asked:
Equitorial guinea was accused of feilding boys in their team.Did you ever play against them or any team that features boys disguised as girls ?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
I played against them, and I cant say they are boys. I think this is a very sensitive situation for those young people and they should be treated with dignity and respect. Let us respect their privacy and allow CAF and FIFA to do the right thing
komolafe busuyi asked:
hi,what role have you taken,or about taken to take Nigeria female football to the next level,not just local champions as they are known to be.have you applied for the super falcons coachings job already?thanks
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Well, I cant play a role that I have not been offered. If they need me, all they have to do is call
Sammy Wejinya asked:
Hi Mercy....Nigeria will play against Germany, Canada and France at this year''s FIFA Women''s world Cup in Germany. How do you think the girls will fare especially after they were humiliated 8-0 by Germany in a friendly International, last year.
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
They just need good preparation and confidence. They have to believe in themselves and not be afraid of anybody. i am sure the result against Germany was caused by something. When they get to the World Cup, it will not be the same
Sammy Wejinya asked:
Hi Mercy, any plans to return to the game either as an administrator of Coach?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
We will cross that bridge when we get there. If they want me, I am available
Ahanon Happiness Adanegbe asked:
I am not comfortable with Eucharia Uche as Coach of the team. Even though I am a Woman, I am sure Women are not ready to coach africans teams at the highest level. What is your opinion on this?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
She is an ex player so she has experience of knowing what to expect. She won the AWC, didnt she? Women are doing well, look at all the women coaching at international level, like Sylvia Neid who won the award in Zurich. We just need more coaching education for women and I think we will do much better
Queen Babantah asked:
Your husband colin is into Sports too...is Sports what brought you together?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
You can say that.
Susan bello asked:
Can the SuperFalcons ever beat America ? the last time ,it was only 0-1 loss ,an improvement from those scandalous defeats of the 90s
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
The US team is not doing very well right now. They are also struggling and they needed a playoff to qualify for the World Cup. But they have a better program that we do, and they have better preparation. If we meet them, we need to forget about the 1-0 last time and work hard to take advantage of their weaknesses
Joseph asked:
She has done wonderful in the past. "She is married to a football Journalist Collin Udoh"what is she doing beside the wonder Boy C.Ronaldon? Can''t she come to Nigeria to help the super falcons?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Joseph, I am sure you know that I cant just come without being asked.
Sophia Ogunsola asked:
What do you need to succeeed in femeale football.what can young players do to follow your giant strides
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
To succeed in anything, including womens football, players have to work very hard and stay focused. You can have a lot of talent, but if you dont work hard and practice all the time, you cant go far. I used to train all the time and listened to what my coaches told me. There is a time to enjoy, but work always comes first
Hauwa Yussuf asked:
Where is Florence Omagbemi and patience Avre?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Florence and Patience are also in the USA like me. Florence and I are in Virginia while Patience is in Chicago
Tinuke Adekunle asked:
How did you end up in America ?how were you discovered?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
I was recruited by Milligan College after the 1999 World Cup, and from there I played for Hampton Roads Piranhas in the W-League and San Diego Spirit in the WUSA
Juliet Nnamani asked:
How do you balance your career with being a wife and mother ?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
It is not easy, but family always comes first. That is the most important thing
Ejiro Akpos asked:
What can we do to encourage young girls that they can make a career in soccer?

Some cultures tend to present the game as being for tom-boys?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Ejiro, I think the easy way would be to point to people like us who have played soccer and also now have very good family lives. That way, they can see that they can benefit from playing soccer and also help others too
Joseph Bello asked:
How many goals did you score for the falcons.do you know how many matches you played because I read somewhere recently that Maureen madu played more than 100 matches
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
I know I played a lot of games and scored a lot of goals too. But I dont know the exact number. I think the NFA will know that.
Adesuwa I. asked:
How many countries have you travelled to? If you were not a footballer,what would you have been ?

Why did you not play in europe ?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
That is hard to say. I have been to a lot of countries, so many that i cant count. I did not play in Europe because I was enjoying my time in the USA. If I had not been a footballer, i would have been a nurse because I love working with people, especially children
Bisola Lawal asked:
What do you think of the Super Eagles new coach Samson Siaisa
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
I think its a good one for Nigeria. He has done well at the youth level and i believe that he is going to do well with the Super Eagles too. We worked together in Atlanta and I know what he can do
Tanko Ibrahim asked:
Why is the United States of america so strong in female Soccer ?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
They have a fantastic youth program. Players start playing from as early as 6 years old. Then they play in high school, then College and then get drafted to play professional. And they have a very organised system, too
Linda Ngubane asked:
What do you think of Pepertua Nkwocha''s goal scoring at the African Women''s championships in South Africa
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Perpetua was fantastic at the AWC. She is a very good player and I was not surprised to see her score so many goals
Adekunle asked:
Why our superfalconets beaten against germany 8-0
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Adekunle, I wasnt there and I did not see the game, so I really dont know. I'm sure there must have been a good reason
Philip UMOH asked:
Do you still play Table tennis? I understand you were very good?

Do you still vissit calabar? Your fans here still enjoy your goal scoring for Pelican stars
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Yes, I do. I play with friends in the USA. I havent been to Calabar since I left Pelicans, but I hope to find time to come soon
Vincent Okoro asked:
What is your best all time XI for the Super falcons considering your played in 3 world cups and two Olympics
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Wow! This is going to be tough, but I will go with Ann Chiejine as goalkeeper, Phoebe Ebimiokumo at right back, Kike Ajayi at left back, Eberechi Opara and Prisca Emeafu in central defence, Florence Omagbemi in defensive midfield with Nkiru Okosieme, Stella Mbachu right wing, Sarah Michael left wing and Perpetua Nkwocha and me as strikers
Claudia asked:
Which player is your all time favourite and why?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
For the women, I would say Florence Omagbemi, and for the men, Samson Siasia
Josephine Musa asked:
how do you see the future of female football in Nigeria and africa.

What do you think of the performance of the U-20 and U-17 teams?

What can be done to improve the Women''s League in Nigeria?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
If we have good people running women's football, and have more girls going outside their countries to get exposure, it will grow. The young girls did very well, The u20s got to the Final for the first time. It shows that the game is growing in Nigeria and we can be champions in future. To improve the womens league, they should run it professionally, pay the girls well, and provide good facilities
Gbadebo asked:
Why are you not be among the team that is contributing to the progress of female team in Nigeria or there is nothing to show again after retiring as Nigeria Player.
What is your relationship with that arrogant player.....RON
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Gbadebo, I have said it earlier, I cannot impose myself on those running the game. If they want me, all they have to do is call.
Caroline Njoroge asked:
You achieved a lot of firsts.First African footballer of the year ,First African to play proffessional football in america maybe in the world,First and only Fifa Ambassador.
Now that you are coaching,what can we expect from you.First to win the World cup?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Caroline, I would like that. Ha ha ha. But I would be very happy if Nigeria can go ahead and win it, even if I am not there.
Dr kunle Abimbola asked:
You were top scorer in the African Women''s championship twice,you scored in the olympics in sydney and also at Athens,You also scred in the W-League and WUSA,not to talk of being top scorer several times in Nigeria.

My questions,What was the secret of yiour goal scoring and how can you help the Super Falcons and Falconets strikers become more prollific.?

What was your best goal in your career and why ?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
There is no secret. It is simply working hard and trying to be at the right place at the right time. My best goal was against North Korea at the 1999 World Cup. because it was my first World Cup goal.
Ufuoma Simeon asked:
Hello Marvelous Mercy, thanks for the wonderful representation of your beloved country both past and present. As a FIFA Ambassador and the only African among the 15 ambassadors, what steps have you taken to bring football and sport in general to the next level in Africa considering the fact that we are minority when it comes to world sport. Also i will appreciate if your wealth of experience as a female soccer star can be extended to Nigeria in form of academy and bring the organised system you talking about down here. Thanks
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Well, even as an Ambassador, I cannot go where I am not asked. I do my best to encourage young players and advise them. And I am working on plans to take young, talented girls to the USA on soccer scholarships, just like I had
maxwell asked:
Mrs Mercy: I am a very good and young player playing at a lower league here in Austria. what do u think i should do to move higher? im want to b a professional footballer although i will be finishing my Electrical Engineering studies in 2 years
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
Well, you have to plan your time well, and decide which one takes priority. If you think you can wait two years before going pro, good. But it is all up to you. Just make sure you work hard
Thabang asked:
Congrads on your achievements within the footballing world. Would you like your daughters to follow your foot-steps? And did you ask Cristiano Ronaldo for the picture dispalyed on Supersport website.
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
My daughters will do what they like when they are old enough
Williams Babadeji asked:
U''re the best. Kuddos. Please, just one question. How will you rate Nigerian Football compare to European Football and what programme do u have to improve football generally?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
European football is still ahead of Nigerian football. We have a long way to go. I can only help those i see, when it comes to developing football, that is the FA's job
Ayoola Ajanaku asked:
Mercy, Have you engineered any development initiative to promote women football in Nigeria?
Mercy Akide-Udoh answered:
I have some plans that I have been working on for a while, and hopefully, it will happen this year. Its time to go now, Thanks to everyone who has been here with me. I'm honoured to have had the opportunity.

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