For a footballer to spend their entire career at one club has always been rare. Quite rightly, therefore such one-club player are praised for their loyalty and commitment, especially when that dedication is tested by money, lack of success and sometimes relegation.
Here thenwfl.com took a look at some of the most notable one-club players in the history of the Nigeria Women Premier League, retired and some still active.
(1) Rita Nwadike (Rivers Angels) (1989-2008)
Rita Nwadike scored Nigeria’s first ever Women’s World Cup goal in 1995 against Sweden. In 1992 she was the league’s topscorer and voted the Bournvita Player of season.
Nwadike joined Rivers Angels in 1989 and stayed through till 2008 when she retired from active football. The attacking midfielder would have probably played for any other club she wanted in the topflight, but decided to stick with (Larry Babes) Rivers Angels through thick and thin.
(2) Maryam Ibrahim (Nasarawa Amazons) (2010- Till Date)
One of the finest central defender the league has produced in recent times.
Mariam Ibrahim joined Nasarawa Amazons nine years ago and has become an integral part of the ‘Christopher Danjuma’s tutored side.
The captain of Nasarawa Amazons has won the league and also the federation cup with Nasarawa Amazons and her loyalty to the ‘solid babes’ is something unique.
(3) Glory Iroka (Rivers Angels) (2000- Till Date)
19 years at a club shows nothing but total loyalty and respect to the ‘Blue and White’ jersey of Rivers Angels.
Iroka joined the ‘Jewels of Rivers’ as a school girl in 2000 and only got playing time few years later.
The diminutive midfielder has represented Nigeria at two African Women Cup of Nations in 2012 and 2014, winning the latter.
(4) Esther Elijah (Osun Babes) (2010- Till Date)
Esther Elijah is hugely respected by all at Osun Babes because of her loyalty to the club. 9 seasons at the club and a level of consistency earned her the captain of the ‘Omoluabi Queens’ four years ago.
Young, agile and ferocious, Esther Elijah has represented Nigeria at two different World Cups, the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and the 2016 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Paupa New Guinea.
(5) Lucky Odiri (Bayelsa Queens) (2009-Till Date)
A modern day right full back, Lucky Odiri joined the feeders team of Bayelsa Queens in 2009 and got promoted to the senior team in 2011.
Despite mouth-watering offers from Delta Queens and Ibom Angels, the lanky defender never left the ‘Restoration Girls’ and eventually won the league in 2018.
(6) Regina Akaraonye (Rivers Angels) (1989-2007)
‘Kekere’ as she is affectionately known to the Rivers Angels loyal fans, Regina Akaraonye had an incredible career as a player and later captained Rivers Angels.
The diminutive player spent 18 seasons with Larry Babes (Rivers Angels) and captained the side for 10 good years between 1997 and 2007 and also made over 50 caps for the Super Falcons.
(7) Joy Bokiri (Bayelsa Queens) (Bayelsa Queens) (2009-2019)
Joy Bokiri joined the ‘Restoration Ladies’ as a kid and played with the club’s feeders team for four years before getting a chance with the senior team.
She became captain of Bayelsa Queens at just 18 years old and led the team to two consecutive AITEO Cup finals in 2015 and 2016, losing to Sunshine Queens and Rivers Angels respectively.
She had a brief stint with Spanish Iberdrola side Sporting De Huelva in 2017 and was part of the Bayelsa Queens team that won the NWPL in 2018. She joined Turkish Side Konak Belediyespor in 2019.
(8) Rasheedat Ajibade (FC Robo) (2009-2019)
Rasheedat Ajibade scored over 40 goals for FC Robo Queens in all competition during her six years with the senior team of the ‘Lagos Landladies’.
She formed a great partnership with Chindinma Okeke after Asisat Oshoala left the team for Rivers Angels and sticked with the team despite interest from Rivers Angels and Bayelsa Queens.
Widely considered as one of the best talents to come out of the Nigeria Women Premier League, Rasheedat Ajibade was made Captain of the team by Osahon Emmanuel in 2015 and has represented the Nigeria Women National team at two U17 World Cups( 2014 & 2016) and U20 World Cups (2016 & 2018) , One nations Cup (2018) and a senior Women’s World cup in 2019.