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'I played with pain' - Ordega opens up on Nigeria's Olympic failure

7:56 PM SGT 3/12/19
Francisca Ordega - Nigeria
The Shanghai forward admits she is yet to overcome the disappointment of missing out on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Francisca Ordega has revealed her failure to qualify for a third consecutive Olympic Games with Nigeria was the biggest regret of her entire career.

Ordega, who moved to China in March after a fourth Africa Women's Cup of Nations success in Ghana last year, inspired Shanghai to second spot in the Chinese top-flight with seven goals.

The 26-year-old starred at her third Women's World Cup tournament this summer in France, helping the Super Falcons reach the knockout stages for the first time in 20 years.

Despite a fine World Cup feat, she could not help the West African nation escape elimination against Cote d'Ivoire in the third round of the 2020 African Olympic Qualifier in October.

After a third early exit in a row, the forward, who made onto the 2018 African Women's Footballer of the Year shortlist, is still deeply pained by her botched dreams to compete for the first time at the Olympics.

"There have been many ups and downs in my career but I guess my biggest regret must be the pain of failing to qualify for three consecutive Olympic Games with the Super Falcons," Ordega told the Nation

"I was in the team that missed 2012, 2016 and now the 2020 Olympic Games. I played with pain against Cote d’ Ivoire with the hope of helping my team qualify but we were unlucky to draw that game and crashed out.

"It is a regret I doubt if I will be able to make up for before retirement. I will be 31 years of age by the time the next Olympic comes around in 2024.

"I don’t think my husband will allow me to continue playing instead of making babies. Anyway, I will try to remain fit to achieve my Olympic Games dream."