Former Super Falcons striker, Mercy Akide-Udoh has set another landmark for other Nigerian female soccer stars to follow, as she has become the first lady from the national team feature as an analyst in a football match live on television.
Akide-Udoh, who footballlive.ng recalls in 2001 became the first ever player to be named African Female Footballer of The Year, cut her teeth as a soccer pundit on live television for the match between USA and Brazil at this year’s She Believes Cup.
The lanky ex-player, who starred for Garden City Queens of Port Harcourt, Jegede Babes of Lagos, Ufuoma Babes of Warri, Pelican Stars of Calabar, as well as the American trio of Milligan College, Hampton Roads Piranhas and San Diego Spirit during her heyday, got top TV debut marks.
Such is the verdict of her husband, former Super Eagles media officer, Colin Udoh, who disclosed that his spouse was at her best during the live telecast on Fox TV.
It was another historic moment for Akide, who started playing football at age five with her brothers, Seleipiri and Ipali in Bundu Waterside, near Port Harcourt Prisons.
At 12 years old she almost became an athlete, sequel to stunning speed in her performances at Holy Rosary Secondary School, Port Harcourt, as she took part in 400m, 800m and 1,500m races.
However, after switching fully to football, her international debut came in a Women’s World Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone in Ibadan, which she played as a winger and marked it with two goals.
She scored one more in the return leg to cement her place in the Super Falcons, for which she went on to play in three Women’s World Cups and helped Nigeria win three African Women Championships (AWC) – 1998, 2000 and 2002.
She was in 1999 and 2004 named to FIFA World All-Star, while 2005 saw her appointed by the world soccer body as one of 15 Ambassadors for Women Football.
Between 2006 and 2008, she was employed at Stars Soccer Club, where she was head coach for the U-16 Athena C Gold Girls and worked within a youth development organisation.
From 2008 to 2013, she worked as co-director of Youth Development and for Beach FC, before joining the coaching drew of Virginia Rush in Virginia, all in the USA, where she has now cut her teeth in punditry.
In recognition of her maiden feat on the tube, Colin Udoh took to social media to celebrate his spouse, who he tagged an African legend.
Udoh wrote: “African football legend @MarvellousMercy made her punditry bow on @FOXSoccer studio for the #SheBelievesCup2019 #USAvBRA game.
“From what I hear, she crushed it along with @RobStoneONFOX @christierampone @LeslieOsborne12.”