The Nigerian football queen right now is Liverpool and Super Falcons striker Asisat Oshoala but before the 20-year-old became the star of Nigeria's women football, Mercy Akide was our main attraction.

Three African Women Championship titles, three FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments appearances and the first African Women Footballer of the Year award, Mercy Akide was the point of excitement in the early days of women's football in Nigeria.

Today, the Super Falcons icon turns 40.

Football however wasn't her favourite sports while she was growing up.

Her speed was recognized from a very young age, excelling in the 400m, 800m and 1500m races against older competitors at and the Holy Rosary Secondary School in Port Harcourt where she was also a regional table tennis champion at the age of 12.

But football found her and they became an item.

She started her professional career at Garden City Queens before playing for Jegede Babes, Ufuoma Babes and Pelican Stars.

She moved to the United States in 1999 where she played for Milligan College/Hampton Roads Piranhas and San Diego Spirit before retireing.

In November 2004, she married ace Nigerian sports journalist Colin Udoh and together they have two daughters.

Life they say, starts at 40 and Mercy Akide in her new career as a coach could still come back to do more for Nigeria Women's football.

Future Super Falcons coach? maybe

Happy Birthday Mercy!